Late evening New Years Day, and my only New Years Resolution this year has been to make no New Years Resolutions at all, regardless of peer pressure from my friends and.or family. Of course, I considered all the usual suspects, like “Make an effort, this year, to see much more of my adorable nephews” and “make a schedule so that there is at least some chance of keeping the house fairly tidy”, but I dismissed them all on the grounds of honesty: I adore my nephews in my own strange way and I like a tidy space, but I know myself too well to tell lies about my future actions.
And it did make me think about the whole business of New Year Resolutions and and of themselves. Most of us make promises which, if we looked at them with the scales fallen from our eyes, we know we’ll never keep. And breaking them, if we haven’t forgotten already, can’t add to our self-esteem and our self-respect, our sense of ourselves as an honest person with a bit of integrity.
And why do we choose New Year, anyway? It’s not as if it is special in any way: it narrowly avoids both seasonal and religious markers. It also denotes no kind of rebirth: surely early Spring, when warmth comes back to the earth and it is appropriate to plant seeds for future crops, would be a better time than the beginning of the hot, dry, plant-killing summer when if your plants aren’t already well-established, they will crumble away into brown dust.
This year, I resolve to try and not lie to myself any more. That is, if I persist in carrying out the same behaviours I have before, I will not expect changes in the results just because the calendar has clicked over. I resolve not to hate myself if I can’t change ossified behaviours overnight. I resolve to accept that I am who I am, and live comfortably within that knowledge.
Which is exactly the same as not making any resolutions at all. and when February draws to an end and I notice that no massive changes have started happening, I won’t berate myself for being weak. So I anticipate, by the making of no resolutions, that my coming year will be significantly more pleasant, at certain moments, than previous years have been.
Happy New Year, everyone. don’t expect too much of yourselves – I’d like you all to be happy.