It is that time of year again. Unavoidably ‘just another day’, but romanticised as a ‘fresh start’ and an ‘opportunity for change’. So, many of us will be making list upon list of dreams and aspirations for the year, and ways to mould ourselves to fit the ‘new me’.
However, in all this optimism, I can’t help but wonder whether New Year’s Resolutions are simply setting us up for failure and disappointment (not to dampen the mood or anything…).
I was starting my 2018 journal today, and I stumbled upon the one I used for 2016. The first page is a list, typewritten, of my resolutions for that year. They were very generic and typical things: ‘Do 30 mins of exercise everyday’, ‘Stop procrastinating’, ‘Drink 8 glasses of water a day’… and I realised that to isolate one of these goals would be okay- achievable, even- however to strive to achieve them all would surely be in sacrifice of spontaneity and happiness. Imagine being a 100% efficient human, who drinks and eats healthily constantly, does not give into the temptations of television or social media, who pushes their body to the extreme just to be able to say they completed this goal. Would this really be healthy? Or would self-discipline be pushed beyond the extreme?
In light of this thought, I decided not to make any specific New Year’s Resolutions this year. Instead, I will set the simple goal of accepting all opportunities that come my way and striving to become a better person in whichever ways I see fit. What appeals to me about this is that I will be conscious of my goal regarding self-improvement, but I have not tailored the journey to acheive this with tight fitting, unforgiving clothing. This year I have decided to let my skin breathe, and to see where that takes me.
Imagine setting 10 specific resolutions, and being unable to achieve any of them. There are 365 days in a year, it would be incredibly hard not to let yourself slip on a few of them. And do you know what? That’s okay. No-one has to be perfect all the time.
Instead, imagine setting a few, loosely defined resolutions, and being able to end the year and look back at what you have done; rather than what you haven’t.
And I think this is the key thing I want to take with me into 2018. To focus on my gains, not my losses. To look at what I have, not what I do not. To bring light into any dark situation, and to try and share that light with others.
I wish you all the happiest of years.