Year after year, around this time, we all sit at our keyboards and we start typing our New Year resolutions. We make affirmations to ourselves about what we will fix in both ourselves and our lives in the 365 days to come. We hope that the new year will drive us towards kicking away our bad habits. We even promise ourselves that we will acquire new good habits. We claim that during this new year we will tie the loose ends, and make a manse with anyone we had wronged. It’s like we honestly believe that the New Year brings with it a magical force that will enable us to change for the better.
However, in reality, the 1st of January is simply a new day on the calendar. Its effect on our behavior is identical to that of any other day in the year. We will all probably wake up on the first day of the year just as desperate for positive change as we were the night before, the month before and even the year before.
But yet many of us still write these resolutions, because our resolutions are merely our dreams packaged as promises we make to ourselves . In fact January 1st brings with it one promise only and that is the promise of time. It is the one date that gives us a full year to attempt to achieve our hopes, dreams, and goals. But, knowing human nature most of us get too involved in our day to day chores. We end up dealing with the day to day challenges of the job, the house, the rent, the bills, and other distractions. We allow the months to pass us by as we make ourselves too busy chasing a deadline with no time left to dream . In reality, only a small percentage of us go through our list of resolutions , checking off that the things we had actually achieved.
This is not because we are underachievers but rather it is because change is not inspired by a new year. The truth is, change only occurs when it is a necessity. We only alter our lives and our behavior when it is the only option for us to survive. We only feel the urgency to diet only when there is a health risk associated with our heaviness. We make the job change either when we are laid off or when the situation we are in becomes unbearable. We improve our relationships when the emotional damage of our current practices is too great. We simply improve ourselves when we feel we have to.
But that doesn’t mean we should skip writing the resolutions. Resolutions are reminders of what we want in life. However, they are only realized when our life path throws us in a direction where we have no option but to achieve them.
There is something to be said about a reoccurring theme in movies, novels, and biographies. Whether the story being told is about a woman who discovers new love in Fashion design after a divorce, or a who finds new love in her small hometown after her husband cheated on her. There is some truth. There is some truth in the story of the woman who goes on a Gay trip to Italy, and ends up buying a house in Tuscany, and the woman who was forced to take custody of her dead sister’s kids only to change her life for the better. Granted , these are inflated versions of reality, but they do center around one idea. The idea is that we become better people when throws us in a direction where we are forced to change.
For me the year 2016 was a year of toughening up, developing thicker skin, and even discovering new interests. It was a year where I had to examine myself like never before, but none of this was by choice. Rather it was by unforeseen challenges that forced me to change.
If I had learned anything from this year it is that change happens when it has to. Write the resolutions but don’t sweat not achieving them. Probably, you will only achieve the things that you have to achieve. Life is funny that way, and our life paths are full of unforeseen curves.