You probably didn’t know it, but today, January 17, is National Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day; a day to let go of the things that have been hanging over your head since you vowed to do better at the end of 2013. No one is exactly sure where this “holiday” originated from, but it is one that I think most people can be thankful for. Maybe you are coming to the realization that some of the goals you set for 2014 are unrealistic, or maybe you have already broken a few promises to yourself by hitting the drive-thru on the way home, buying new clothes instead of saving money or trying to re-open a door for a person in your life that is better left closed. If that is the case then today is your lucky day! I’m sure there are some people who have done well these last three weeks and stayed on track with what they want to accomplish and if you are one of them then kudos to you! But for the rest of us, today is the day we get a do-over.
The history of making a New Year’s Resolution is one that stretches all the way back to ancient Babylon when the Babylonians used to ring in their new year in March with an 11-day festival. They made promises to the gods in hopes that they would earn their favor throughout the next year. Sound familiar? Whether we keep them or not, it seems that some 4,000 years later we are still making promises to either ourselves or the Almighty in hopes of this year being better than the last, only the date of doing so has changed.
But let’s be honest for a minute, keeping all those resolutions is hard work. It is thought to take between 21 to 30 days to make or break a habit. In order for that to work you either have to abstain from or continually do something for basically one month. In the grand scheme of things one month is not that long of a time period, but for most of us change is not easy and one month without chicken nuggets from McDonalds can seem like an eternity.
This is where the beauty of National Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day comes in, in my opinion. Here we are 17 days into 2014, not quite a full month as of yet. So if you are like me and have slipped a little when it comes to the list you made to better yourself this year, instead of berating yourself for being an incompetent human being, give yourself a break. One would figure the premise behind a day to ditch your resolutions is to forget them for the rest of the year, but that seems like a waste to me when 2014 has only just begun. With 11 and a half months left in the year, there is still plenty of time to make new good habits and let go of the bad ones.
So just for today, I propose all of us who have faltered in the last few weeks, ditch our resolutions, cut ourselves some slack and treat tonight like it is New Year’s Eve all over again. Start fresh tomorrow and try again to keep the promises of change we have made. Because as a Southern lady who refused to give up once said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”