Happy New Year and welcome to the first Sunday Things of 2019 and a few thoughts on being resolution free in this new calendar year. While it doesn’t imply that you should be without aspirations, I’ve been alive long enough to recognise that new years resolutions, as well-intentioned as they may be, are subject to a number of outside forces and factors. Ingrained habits, entrenched ways of thinking and responding and ways of processing events, people and responsibilities to name a few, are so deeply ingrained into who we have always been, that it requires tremendous effort to re-shape or mould that ingrained self into the version of ourselves we think is better, more on-trend, more accomplished and healthier than the self we’ve been waking up to each day.
Think of how long it takes to learn a new skill, a new language, or a new computer programme, and how long it takes to attain a level of mastery of that new thing, especially since learning and mastery are two separate things. Set against the backdrop of a new calendar year, is a year really enough time to attain self-mastery? I suppose what I’m getting at, is that long-lasting change is more likely to happen over time, with concentrated effort yes but also with the freedom to make a step forward, sometimes fall back, then push forward again. Work life, family life, school life, and the state of our overall health all factor into how much personal progress we make each year. Add that to the general pressures that come with modern existence and one is truly up against major currents that can drag us in unforeseen directions.
And so, with all of that considered, what if we commit to remaining focused but flexible, mindful yet open, while actively working towards self-improvement, but also recognising that fallibility, or simply, not being perfect is alright as well. Reading snippets of other people’s resolutions on social media or in various publications is refreshing and even uplifting in the moment and reminds me of the personal aspirations I have for myself. But after some of the experiences I’ve had during the year that has just passed, I’m reminded of life’s uncertainty and the fact that we’re actually not as in control as we like to think we are.
I won’t bore you with what I hope for in this new year apart from stating the ever resident hope for continued good health and soundness of mind above all else. Yes, set goals, yes, strive to be better, strive to see things clearer, strive to be kind to whom you encounter and strive to be humble. But release yourself from the pressure to jump on the resolution bandwagon, because it often leads to disappointment in oneself and that is not helpful at all. Greet each day with gratitude and meet your commitments and responsibilities with a sense of duty and focus and chances are, you’ll wake up one day to the recognition that you’ve actually been doing well all along.