New Year’s Street Wisdom
by Victor Manuel Labrada
Some New Year’s street wisdom for y’all from someone who lost 75 pounds, gained 40 then lost 50 then gained 25 over the last decade:
1) Make resolutions that are measurable. Anything that is abstract, “be more creative,” “read more,” “lose weight” is likely to stay in the abstract. Resolve instead to “paint 20 paintings,” “read 40 books,” “lose 30 pounds.”
2) Use math to divide your resolution by 12. This sounds obvious, but you’re likely not going to read 40 books or lose 30 pounds in one month, or even six. Don’t listen to people who brag about accomplishing all of their goals in some boast-worthy time period; let them write a book about it, but don’t make their schedule yours. So divide by 12 and set a schedule. Where do you have to be February 1st so that you can achieve your goal by December 31st? Keep track of your progress.
3) Welcome accountability. If you could do it “on your own” you would’ve done it already.
4) Understand that you are resolving to form new habits, which is only slightly less difficult than changing the color of your hair through sheer willpower. Habits are difficult to re-form because you’ve spent decades forming the ones you already have, whether you know it or not. “First you make your habits, then your habits make you” only gets more true over time. So behind every resolution, think about what habit you are trying to re-form. What does that habit look like at 7am, what does it look like at 10pm? Will-power is like physical energy, most of us have more of it in the morning than in the evening, be aware of that as you are trying to form and eliminate habits. It takes about 66 days to form a new habit, so the sooner you get started, the better.
5) No happy person ever resolved to watch more TV. Unless you are resolving to write a TV series or some other creative venture, binge-watching TV shows is exactly as depressing as it sounds. To paraphrase John Owen, be killing TV or it will be killing you.
6) Lastly, spend about 5% of your time talking about and reading about what you intend to do, and then spend the rest of your time actually doing it. So with that in mind, Happy New Year!
Victor Manuel Labrada
Assistant Pastor, Directs The Family Ministries at Kendall Presbyterian Church in Miami, Fla