I read somewhere that the third weekend in January is the one where most New Year's Resolutions fail.
It's easy to see why.
To start with you're all fired up with energy and enthusiasm. And however hard it is, it's all a bit of a novelty at least.
Then, three weeks later, it's still hard, and the novelty's worn off. All you can see stretching ahead of you is a lifetime of denial, and you're thinking is this it? Surely making it to (nearly) the end of January is enough. I can't be expected to do this forever!
Well, I found a fabulous story from a lady called Anne Lamott which may help you. She's the author of a book called 'Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.'
Anne tells a tale about her older brother, aged ten at the time (about the same age as #2).
Anne's brother had been asked to do a project on birds. He was given three months to work on it, so it was obviously expected to be a pretty comprehensive study. However, just like #2 would do in the same situation, he had left it until the last minute.
It was the night before the project was due in, and the little boy was sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by empty sheets of paper, sharpened pencils and unopened reference books about birds.
He was totally paralysed by the enormity of the task ahead of him. It seemed insurmountable.
Then, Anne's father sat down next to his son, put an arm round his shoulder, and said "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."
Anne wrote that story to help people get over writer's block, but realised that it applies to many situations in life. I think it's particularly relevant to us.
So, if that's how you're feeling, and the enormity of the task ahead has suddenly hit, and you're feeling overwhelmed, then don't think about the whole damn project. Just deal with one bird at a time....
....then after about 100 days worth of individual birds - from tiny hummingbirds, to huge, aggressive eagles, you find that the project is looking amazing. It's nearly finished!
You can't believe how much you achieved. You never thought it was possible. In fact, you're feeling so good about it that you decide to keep going, to see what else you can achieve.
And about six months after you started, not only is the whole bird project not at all daunting, but you realise that it's actually become your passion, your raison d'etre, an innate part of you. This is what you want for the rest of your life.
You put the books down, run into the street and shout "I'm going to be an ornithologist!" Or maybe a pilot? Or an aviation engineer. Whatever, the point is you're no longer afraid, and your whole life has changed.
That's why you mustn't give up. Just take it bird by bird.
P.S. If you did fall off the waggon this weekend, then look out for my post tomorrow, for more wise words from Anne Lamott.