Aren’t most New Year’s resolutions made with the latent premise that they will be broken? They may last for a few days, weeks, maybe even months, but, eventually, anything that requires that formality, that type of declaration, will soon be “toast”–and not a New Year’s toast! So, this isn’t just another of the hundreds of articles about a year-end reassessment and setting your 2013 goals. Effecting change in one’s life is a work in process. We need to celebrate New Year’s more often. Reassessment and goal setting should be a continuous exercise.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to discourage those who have made a necessary reconsideration of direction and established goals to steer their misguided ship back on course. And if the new year is simply a convenient time for you to update your to-do list, then go for it. But if you typically make resolutions for change each and every year, and just once a year, it may be time to ask yourself why the same items appear on your list. Don’t just go through another futile exercise of documenting another year of falling short.
Just as the Spirit of Christmas can be celebrated throughout the year, so should New Year’s represent the fresh start that is available to us each and every day. If you’re like me, a New Year’s resolution just has a bad feel to it. If you need to wait for the turn of the year to prompt a reassessment, and to resolve to change, then it suggests that this new direction is not easily achieved–and is more likely to be deferred. We really ought to celebrate New Year’s more frequently. Why do we put off healthy changes? Why do most of us seem to long for autopilot? Why is motivation to change so elusive, and begging for attention?
Maybe it is because, when we resolve to change, we are admitting that we are wrong. We’ve been walking down a path that wasn’t intended for us, or is not healthy for us, and it is difficult to admit we’re off course. Or, perhaps we’ve simply been stuck, unable to move. Inertia has ruled for so long that it has become difficult to break out of one’s “comfort zone,” even if we wanted to. And breaking free involves risk. If we stay stuck in our stall with the blinders on, at least we are sheltered from the perils of life that surround us–or so we think.
Life around us, however, is changing. So, even if we remain stationary, our life dynamics still change. If you resolve anything this New Year’s, why not resolve to make reassessment, change, and personal growth a constancy in your life? Examine where you are and what you are doing on a regular basis. Then consider where you want to go and take steps to make it happen. Don’t wait for the herd to prompt this needed intentionality in your own life. Any day can start a new year.