As the Holidays are moving past us, the new year is quickly approaching, and people will start making the ever-so daunting list of resolutions for the New Year. Generally regarded as a new beginning, millions of people pledge to lose weight, read more, or clean out the garage. I’ve never personally been a huge participant in this yearly ritual; to me it’s just another new year, another day, nothing really has changed. But recently, I’ve warmed up to the idea. I often find myself reflecting on my life and promising myself to be a better person, or change this or that in the future. I believe that we are constantly changing and evolving as time goes on, making ourselves more ourselves with each reaction to life’s events. To more succinctly put it, I turn to a quote from a book I read my freshman year in high school. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin.
“As a man’s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do…”
Rather than actually construct a list of specific resolutions I’ve promised myself to take a look at my life monthly and reflect on what I wish I could change and focus on how I should do things differently in the future. I’ve often thought, and still do, that how we react to situations is what determines our character; ergo it would be ideal to determine how to react if situations recur in the future. Along with that, I find I feel the general urge to be a better person, blah blah blah. I’ve also decided to focus less on mistakes I’ve made in the past and try to move on. “No regrets” is a phrase commonly coined, yet I think its been used to lightly. Regrets are inevitable, it’s what we do with them that determines whether they control our lives, or we use them to shape who we are. Now to actually do what I’ve decided to.
However, I’m sure many of you will actually make a mental or physical list. So here are my suggestions, that I hope will aid you, and myself.
Resolutions can be big, so make a general one, then divide it into small, manageable goals. For example, if you wanted to read 12 new books in the year, set a goal to read one a month. Likewise, if you wanted to lose a certain amount of weight by the end of the year, divide it up into smaller monthly or quarterly goals.
Once you make a general resolution, think of specific ways you can execute them. If you wanted to be more involved in community service, pick projects from your local community and set up a time you can participate in one or two a month, maybe more depending on your schedule and current level of involvement.
Be realistic. A year may seem like a long time, but for some things it may not be. Change does take time and effort, so if you want to do something make sure you have enough time and energy to wholly devote to that resolution. In my mind, completing one task thoroughly is better than doing 5 tasks half-way.
Set up an accountability system. Chances are there are others around you who want to do the same things as you. If you want to read more, set up a book club to meet once a month. If you want to lose weight, exercise and meet with a partner. Even if your friends and family don’t have the same goals as you, they will likely be fully supportive of you.
Hope you have had a wonderful Holiday Season, and good luck in the new year!