What’s with Making New Year’s Resolutions?

Just as sure as that ball drops at midnight on December 31st, we all feel, come January 1, that we need to find something about ourselves we have to fix or change.

Why? Think about it. What a tough way to start the New Year—to scrutinize where we’ve failed, how we haven’t measured up. Makes us start what should be the bright and promising adventure of a New Year by shining an internal spotlight on what we didn’t do; that who we are or how we’ve behaved or how we compare with others or our own ideals is not just not good enough.

Why do we burden our outlook on the New Year that way? Instead of looking at the calendar with all those nice empty pages with anticipation —wondering what will fill them, what new discoveries we’ll make, what will surprise us, how we can rise to a new challenge— we hang the albatross of a test around our necks. And a test that most people notoriously fail at. The media fills that first week with “How to keep your New Year’s Resolution”, underlining that we’re expected to fail.  What a great way to sail into the future. Not only knowing what’s wrong with us and where we need to improve but knowing that we’ve tried and failed before and probably will again…

How about giving ourselves a break? How about adding up last year with its disappointments and its shortcomings and saying “Phew! Glad that’s over with. Let’s see what a New Year will bring.” And believing that whatever comes, we can handle it. That there will be opportunities to rise to new occasions. That what we learned last year will help us make better moves this year and that we even have it within us to change what we think we would want to.