Why do we make New Year’s Resolutions? We resolve to lose weight, eat healthier, be better parents, be better spouses , be better employees, stop speeding, start reading more, listen more, interrupt less, be more kind, be less judgmental and the list goes on. Why do we wait until the New Year to try and improve ourselves? The other 364 days of the year (365 if it happens to be a leap year), are just as appropriate for groundbreaking new starts. What makes us wait, why don’t we simply start now?
Of course, many of those promises to better ourselves are recycled from the previous year. Mostly because the majority of these so called resolutions are abandoned by midway through February for lack of effort, lack of desire or lack of interest. Not that I’m against improving myself. Every year I have lists of things I want to do. Exercise more, be a better housekeeper, write more and yet rarely do I meet my goals. Or I do them for a while but never enough to become a permanent part of my life style.
Perhaps I should resolve not to make a resolution unless I mean to really stick with it. (Of course no one means to give up on a resolution otherwise we wouldn’t call them resolutions.) I perhaps it we could call them New Year’s intentions instead. Of course we all know where good intentions lead, don’t we? That’s right. (In case you don’t know where I’m headed, its rather warm, rather crowded and contrary to Billy Joel, not a place you’d like to spend all eternity.)
Maybe there is something about a new year that seems fresh, like a blank slate. As we turn another calendar page and add a new digit to the dates in our check books, we see the days and weeks that stretch out before us as days of opportunity; A second (third, fourth or umpteenth) chance to get it right this time. Even when we think we are happy with ourselves and our lives, if asked to make a New Year’s resolution, someone can almost always come up with one. As well as adjusted as we all claim to be, really we are all looking to improve in one way or another. So we resolve that we will improve upon our strengths, minimize our weaknesses and in the end be more tolerant of the inevitable failings that we know are coming, perhaps in just a few short weeks. So happy New Year’s resolving, everyone. Here’s hoping that this year’s intentions lead to some place better for all of us.