Making Your New Year’s Resolution… at Thanksgiving

Making Your New Year's Resolution... at Thanksgiving

The time-honored American tradition of Thanksgiving is upon us and among the parades, football, and turkey (or maybe Tofurkey),?it begins a much anticipated holiday season. The winter rubric moves us symbolically from thankfulness to joyfulness to hopefulness, and culminates with many feeling inspired to make significant changes in their lives – with a New Year’s resolution.

When the clock strikes midnight to welcome 2016, nearly 50% of Americans will make a resolution. However, it’s estimated that only 8% of these people will successfully achieve their resolution. What stops us from completing our goals? Moreover, how can we find the necessary motivation to accomplish our dreams?

While the prospect of realizing our personal potential brings great enthusiasm, overcoming the obstacles of starting something new, the fears associated with failure and the adjustments to our daily routines are not easy propositions. We are creatures of habit that naturally cling to the safety of what is known. Whether destructive or constructive, the ease of normalcy sometimes outweighs the desire to modify our behaviors. Yet, until we’re comfortable acknowledging and welcoming this uncertain state, we’ll continue to suppress the drive towards fulfilling our personal goals – our resolutions.


Being human is to be imperfect. The famed artist Salvador Dali referred to this by expressing: “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” One of his more recognizable works, The Persistence of Memory, depicts melted clocks, which many attribute to representing the uncontrollable passage of time. Perhaps, in striving for motivation to better ourselves, we let time pass rather than find the support we need to help us reach our goals.

As we welcome this season, rather than waiting until New Year’s Eve to make a resolution that (statistically) is unlikely to be reached, what if we stopped wasting the time in front of us?

Too often, we assume that achieving our resolutions is a personal endeavor. Yet, acknowledging we’re not alone is essential to accomplishing our goals. While this time of year offers us a catalyst for change, it also gives us moments to be together with family and friends. These opportunities provide one of the most instrumental motivational tools – love. By embracing our support networks and sharing our hopes, we can receive the necessary encouragement needed to achieve anything.

So as we prepare for Thanksgiving this year, may we each take the time to be grateful for the love in our lives – and with that love, gain the strength to realize our resolution dreams.


Adam Grossman

A social entrepreneur, Rabbi Adam Grossman was ordained in 2008 from HUC-JIR and has been at the forefront of groundbreaking and nationally recognized initiatives to engage Jews with meaning, practice, and action. He was Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel in Memphis, Tennessee from 2008-2014, and co-founded Convue, an online system to help relationship-focused professionals enhance their customer connections. He was selected as a Clal Rabbis Without Borders Fellow in 2013. Hired as the new CEO at the University of Florida Hillel in July 2014, he continues to rethink old paradigms by illustrating new ways to anchor Judaism in individual?s lives. His inspiration comes from his family ? his wife, Amy, three children - ages 8, 6, and nearly one year - and his dogs, a Dalmatian and Greyhound.

Leave a Reply