For those of us in the Julian-based reality, today is the last calendar day of 2012. For many, this means a night of amateur drinking, kissing some stranger at your time zone’s approximation of midnight, and waking up the next morning with a monster hangover(did you not eat some asparagus earlier, silly person?) and the realization that New Year’s Day is just like any other day. There’s nothing that makes it more special, there’s nothing that makes it unique. You throw one calendar out and put a new one up.
Ah, you say, but I still have those resolutions! True, but resolutions are only as strong as the resolve that drives them. There’s no secret mojo in a new calendar year that offsets the sloth that comes from general human existence.
So if you have resolutions, make them realistic. For me, I’m keeping it simple, yet, a progression from my current state of being. I resolve in 2013 to:
- Write every day, whether it be blog or paper,
- Guide my self-improvement by continuing to read, and learn,
- Continue to practice compassion for myself,
- Remembering to find joy in all things,
- Value that which I have over what I do not, and
- Get in a good walk now and then.
Certainly, that’s not a cumbersome list. It’s six things and, yes, are things I do already. The difference being, it eliminates the All Or Nothing aspect that people assign to their resolutions (“I’m going to exercise 50 times a day!” or “I’m going to read a book everyday!”). Day One, maybe up to Day Three, you’re sticking to that resolution. But as time goes on, you realize the Monolithic Nature of it and give up.
When we set about to make big changes, we set ourselves up for disappointment. And we either feel disappointed in ourselves, or grumble about the pointlessness of resolutions, or both. It doesn’t have to be so
From my experience, I’ve discovered things are easier when broken into increments. If I wasn’t already writing, the challenge to write every day would be a bit daunting. Writing, to me, is like eating a good meal. I savor the practice. It makes me feel good. I love expressing myself. It forces me to think of ways to express ideas that haven’t already been used in tired cliches or overused metaphors. So the idea of writing everyday is what I want to do and is a realistic goal. I write already. To write more gives me continued practice in developing as a writer. Such is the same with continuing my learning and readings and getting a good walk in. These are things I’m working on now and, as I continue, make me a better person. Self-improvement, y’see?
Of my resolutions, the challenges are in number 3, 4, and 5: compassion, joy, and non-materialism. This means eliminating negative talk, self-criticism, self-deprecating humor, destructive thinking, wanting what I don’t need, and enjoying that which I already have. Where the previous three are my base for continuing what I am doing already, these three are quests that I’ve made only foot steps towards. This means being vigilant in my thinking, to eliminate the easy self-loathing comments or the joke at my own expense. Fyshmom has threatened to write positive things in Sharpie on my forehead whenever I make self-deprecating remarks. A few nights ago, she said, “If you do that again, I’m going to write I’m The Lizard King on your forehead. Try going to a job interview with that!”
The challenge to think better of myself while make myself better is my resolution. I’m going to do it, and I’ll acknowledge that there will be days when I fail. That’s built in, if I said, “I will never think another bad thing about myself ever again. Full stop,” then I’ve set myself up for failure. Absolutes fall where increments crawl.
I hope that, if you’re a resolution-making person, you are able to accomplish what goals you have set up. I hope they are attainable. And I hope you have a very happy, safe, and joyous Eve.