Resolve the New Year

I've never understood New Year's resolutions. I mean, I get it. The very definition of a resolution is to make a firm decision to partake or refrain from a behavior or action. What bothers me is people make them (including myself), but they're not very firm decisions since the  majority of people never actually stand by these decisions. You may have resolved to exercise, diet, drink less, quit smoking, etc. By March or April (sometimes sooner) life and stress become hectic and your "firm" decisions turn to putty and slip through your fingers. Next year, you make the same vows to yourself, yet they fall to the wayside.
Last year, I made a major change. Instead of resolutions, or trying to change a part of myself or my behavior, I set goals for myself ranging from easily doable to dreams. I can say that by viewing them at the close of the year, I've done pretty well. I've completed a couple short stories, finally feel as though my novel is good enough to share with a test group, at last found a decent balance between motherhood and work, learned to judge people less and accept them more, relaxed more as a parent, and cut out/limited the stressors in my life. All I can say is that I've never been happier. Work seems easier, my son more manageable, people aren't as annoying, and I feel more confident in myself and my abilities as a parent, professor, and writer. Even though there was still plenty of stress with papers, potty training, a son that rarely naps (who has an unlimited energy supply, and wants to get up super early), not to mention a knee injury, deaths of loved ones and pets, and much more that went on, it was a great year despite the hardships. What was the  difference this year from the one prior? Nothing really but my mindset. A positive mindset, even through the worst experiences, makes life so much easier and rewarding.
Were all my goals accomplished? No. They are goals, things to strive for, not to resolve to do and be disappointed by letting them go. I didn't put a time limit on  my goal; I didn't say, "This year, I must..." I said, "This year I will attempt to start..." By qualifying the statement instead of using such limiting language, I open up for the possibility of not fulfilling them. In a sense I cannot fail if I make some kind of attempt at my goal. Therefore, there are no disappointments just celebrations when I succeed and when I do not fulfill a goal, there's always more time, always next year. As long as I "start" my goal, I've succeeded. It doesn't seem that difficult, yet I've done so much more without forcing myself every Dec. 31st to force change. Positive reinforcement is proven to work for people, and if you start small you'll eventually accomplish big goals. My largest goal is publishing a book, and for a couple years I tried getting an agent thinking it would just eventually happen. I kept saying to myself "I have to get published this year!" Then I ended up depressed each New Year's when that didn't happen. Instead, I now don't resolve to do anything but strive for my goals. If you have issues sticking with resolutions each year, then think about viewing next year with a different, more positive, mindset. Don't resolve, strive and attempt. That way you'll always succeed. Happy New Year!