Not one resolution, but many

Jan 8, 2016 By Robert H. Peck, Staff Writer

I did a big thing in 2015, and I 'resolved' again every day

Some of you out there are a week or so into your New Year's resolutions.

To lose the weight, or to gain it; to kick an old habit or pick up a better one; to stay in touch; to learn something important.

Or, perhaps, you'd rather resolve not to change anything, and instead appreciate yourself and your situation more often.

Big or small, congratulations on beginning something good this year.

Now it's time to stick to that.

I'm not an overly wise person -- I think it's hard to be at 22 -- but I can tell you what my experience was with choosing to do something difficult.

In 2015, I lost 110 pounds.

I didn't resolve to do that at New Year's. I made my resolution in early June. By Thanksgiving, I was 110 pounds lighter.

It can be done.

But I discovered that choosing to do something difficult is not the simple idea it's always billed as being.

"Make a good choice for your health," is a phrase I've heard repeated in some form or another from many people and companies and entities.

"A good choice for your family," "for your future."

But that's not right.

I might even say "a good choice" is an utterly unhelpful way to phrase the thing.

Rather, choosing to do something difficult involved, for me at least, a series of many thousands of tiny decisions over a long period of time.

There was no one big choice. There was a first choice, yes, but relative to the whole it was as tiny as any of the rest.

Yet each small resolution--not taking another bite on one specific day, pushing through 100 more meters of running on another day, distracting myself with a movie rather than snacking on a third day--was vital to the larger project. Each moment was a chance to undermine myself, but also a meaningful opportunity to do something right.

So if you're planning to do difficult things this year, kudos to you.

But I picked my words carefully at the beginning of this column. Congratulations onbeginninga good thing. On making the first choice.

I hope you will remain vigilant and diligent for the many other choices that will come -- that must come.

And if you asked me if it's worth it? To make these many, tiny resolutions?

I'd tell you yes. A thousand, thousand times yes.

Stick to your guns on this one. You can do it, and you'll be so glad that you did.

Editor's note: Riverton native Robert H. Peck graduated recently from Yale University. He is a graduate student in creative writing at the University of Iowa.