New Year Resolutions That I will Not Be Making!
Happy New Year! Hurry, step aside and let in all the New Year resolutions, the fresh new agendas, and all the glimmering beautiful intentions.
“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” Mark Twain
Is the ritual of making New Year’s resolutions a way to usher hope? Is it a way to make our dream seem more attainable? Yes, most of us will make new resolutions and most of us will break them soon afterwards. Most of us will get back into our routines and fall back into last year’s schedule. And, of course most of us will slump into depression for failing to realize them.
I have decided to stop making New Year resolutions and will not be making any this year or the next. Oscar Wilde said, “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” True then, and still true now. So, why should I bother? Easier said than done, people will say! But not for me. I am going to be resolution free facing the New Year with an open mind ‘que sera sera’. Come January, many water cooler chatters will involve lively discussions about resolutions. I will stay away from coolers an keep my lack of resolutions to myself. Others will succumb to peer pressure and will make them.
I remember my top 4 resolutions well, they were always the same and I bounced them from year to year to year. And as the year went, I’d feel so frustrated with my poor imaginary score card. But I have come to realize that breaking New Year’s resolutions is as much of a ritual as making them. At least for me. No need to look for excuses, to stress and drive myself crazy. I will take my leisurely way to plan things all year long and I will revise and I will ‘recalculate’ yes, like my GPS, as much as I want and whenever I feel like changing direction. So listen to me when I say: Forget stuffing all your good intentions this January and make the resolution not to make any resolutions each year. Here’s a recap of my new year’s resolutions that I will no longer be making:
1-Quit smoking. I smoked for many years and on many New Year’s eves, I promised, myself and others, to quit. The months would come and go and I would still be smoking. But, one regular day in an uneventful month, I decided to try non-nicotine cigarettes. They smelled weird and tasted like smoking oregano but for some reason after the third pack I didn’t mind reaching for them. Was it the strange taste? Was it because I only allowed them as my only option? Whatever it was, those oregano cigarettes, eventually worked! I stopped smoking. For some reason, I believed that smoking helped me with stress! I would reach for one, with drop dead deadlines or whenever life happened. Nicotine cravings lasted for a while until they dissipated! ‘The force will be with you’ when you decide to quit. You will be able to. Not being controlled by a nasty habit was a good enough reason for me, one cold February morning as I took a cigarette break amidst a snow storm. I stared at the wilted cigarette and decided to quit without giving much thought to any New Year’s Eve resolution. I was able to quit, and you will too, when you’re ready to do it! I remember once being in Italy and having to drive to Switzerland to find my brand of cigarettes. Sad, right? That’s addiction for you!
“The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year’s Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you’re married to.” P. J. ORourke
2-Join a gym. I wanted so much to find that healthy routine of gym going and every year I’d make a resolution to join one. Many memberships later, that gym routine eluded me. I guess I discovered that I like to walk and work in my garden instead and so this is what I do now. I have gained a little weight but I try not to be too upset about it and to keep things in check, not to indulge too much. This reminds me of what Jay Leno said once, and that puts it all in perspective, “Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average. Which means you’ve met your New Year’s resolution.”
3-Move to be closer to family. Every year around family gatherings, I would promise everyone and myself that I will move to be closer to everyone. And, every year, routines will take over and I wouldn’t. Until one day, I decided to do just that and I have never looked back. Homer Simpson’s words come to mind, “You want me to spend more time with Dad? What about my New Year’s resolution?”
4-Focus on my writing. That was a resolution for many years until one day, not a January day, I sat down and started writing my first book. And, another and another.
Even though I stopped making New Year’s resolutions, my friends still do. I will still need to hear about them and will cheer them as they try to meet them and console them as they are defeated. And, here’s what some will be resolving to do this January:
1- Lose 40 pounds and exercise more. One friend said. Hopefully she will not be reading this. She’ll share with me again as if for the first time her resolve to lose 40. She’ll also share the new diet plan that she’ll be following right after the holidays.
2- Quit smoking, drinking or doing drugs. Another friend comes to mind. He’s been trying to quit smoking for 15 years. One year he was for months the cigarette borrower as he threw his away on New Yea’s Eve. And, he thought not buying them would fix things. Another year, he began rationing them into puffs on New Year’s Eve, taking only a couple of puffs at a time and saving the cigarette for later. Last I heard, he’s still smoking.
3- Change job. Many friends will be sharing this one, will complain about their jobs and will remain in them. How can you jump, take a risk in this uncertain economy? I do understand that. Still, a big part of being happy is liking your work. The happiest people I know are the ones who can’t wait to get to work!
4- Go on vacation. Many friends will promise to go on vacation but will postpone doing so and feel miserable about not going anywhere. That’s really sad!
5- Save money. One friend comes to mind who lives paycheck to paycheck and will always tell you that she’s in no position to save any money. Her resolution again this year will be to start but truth be told-she won’t. I will argue with her again that no amount is too small and that she should start. One day she will when she is good and ready but I’m positive it won’t be this year.
6- Help more people, volunteer more, and spend more time with loved ones. Many will promise to donate to charity and volunteer and will feel guilty for not doing it.
7- Read more. That used to be on my list too until my shelves started complaining. So, now, I no longer make a wish read list and buy or download a book when I know I will not have the time to read it. I have discovered a public library two blocks from my house. When the urge hits, I walk there, borrow a few books and return them if I did not manage to read them, and this way, they don’t sit on the shelf and in my face as a regretful reminder.
So I have given up on New Year’s resolutions but I have not given up on making resolutions. They are good to make to get centered and focused toward a goal. But, I’ve learned to make them on a daily basis and throughout the year. I’ve also learned that kids like to make them too. A teacher once shared with me how much kids enjoyed planning their agenda after winter break. And, here my suggestion for an activities agenda in the form of a colorful chart! Just like visualization is a part of manifestation, writing yearly goals and dreams might bring things into focus at family and school gatherings and prove to be informative for all. In addition to creating new memories, it might unveil some hidden aspirations that can be helped to flourish. Here’s the basic questions:
1-What I discovered last year about myself, my home, my friends:
2-What I hate finding out the most:
3-What I hated all last year but don’t mind now:
4-What I plan to like or try next year:
5-Last year, my favorite things to do were:
6-This year, I am most looking forward to:
Hopefully this year, we’ll find a way to decompress and destress. We’ll start by deleting stressful resolutions and come up with a happiness plan of action for the entire year. We’ll keep it real and not reach for unattainable goals. Maybe losing 10 pounds instead of 40 to start. Maybe saving $10 dollars a month is a better idea than $100 to start with and maybe walking 2 miles a day is more reasonable than joining a gym. Maybe we’ll find a way to be happy with what we have and resolve to go after what makes us happy in a realistic way. Maybe we’ll stop trying to keep up with Joneses! And, maybe then we will discover the blessings that we already have!