I suspect that the origin of New Years resolutions was someone lifting their pounding head up and declaring ‘I am never drinking again’. No doubt met with groans of agreement from similarly afflicted friends.
We all know how long that one lasts.
Our annual holiday of resolving to be a better, more productive person is perfect for procrastinators and perfectionists. (I fall into both of these categories) It’s a specific point to start, which if missed means that you may as well wait until it comes around again, and a metaphorical clean slate, on which last years failures disappear like swiping back on our etch-a-sketch.
I have for the last three years sat down and written a gratitude list and a goal list. I’m grateful for my family, my job etc. And while I am grateful for my family I haven’t sat down and thought about why. And I don’t think just writing a list causes us to feel the gratitude that is supposed to be so good for our mental health.
Do New Years Resolutions help us? or do they just absolve us throughout the year until our disappointment that we haven’t achieved our goals can be cushioned by champagne and optimism for the next years list.
Perhaps we should focus more of our energy on what we wish to leave behind, letting go of things that weigh us down and facing up to the things that hold us back. Instead of thinking about it as a clean slate, because lets face it unless you go into FBI protection you will never get one, maybe New Year should be stepping back from the canvas to get perspective.
So many of our goals or ambitions in life are quite arbitrary, inherited from the world around us while holding little meaning to us personally. I don’t think anyone actually thinks about their weight unless it’s noticeably difficult to heave themselves off their couch and if we had the time we would have lived our lives to the fullest last year. I’m not even sure what amount ‘the fullest’ constitutes.
So hang the resolutions to be a better person and do the things I ought to do. This year my resolutions are to do the things I want to do. I’m taking up ballet and pottery and learning about wine.