For me, the blank page of a New Year is a beautiful thing. No, nothing often significantly changes in those moments from the previous December 31st, to the new January 1st. Life does not miraculously improve with the 12 chimes of the midnight bell. But it is a different year. A new calendar, a new diary. A very blank page. And a blank page is the chance to write a new story. To change the outcomes of the same routines. To try new ways to respond to the same issues.
I can see why New Year’s resolutions are appealing. The thought that after all the excesses and partying, you can strive to change something. New patterns, new routines, can start with the New date. And why shouldn’t we try if we want to? Why shouldn’t we give January 1st as a date to create new habits?
Of course, for many of us, the string of resolutions we promise ourselves don’t make it past the second week of January. The enthusiasm and resolve we started with starts to dwindle as we come to the realisation that nothing is really different, and that any change in habit is going to take work and effort, whether it starts on October 1st, January 1st or May 22nd. The feelings and the passion we had when we set those resolutions have moved away, and we start to question our abilities and our own agenda. Do I really need to give up smoking? Right now? Do I really have to get up an hour earlier each day to fit in yoga? What is it actually giving me? And sometimes we conclude that we’re not benefitting from our previous decisions. We’re not ready to make those changes. And it’s fine. It’s ok. Because it’s our choice.
But sometimes people do keep those resolutions going. That opportunity to use a date as a time to create new habits, new activities, is enough to motivate the changes to remain. That decision to join the gym in January and train for a 10k run happens and continues. That resolution to quite smoking on January 1st is successful and the start of a lifelong change.
Yes, I like January 1st as an opportunity to bring about change.
But I also like Wednesdays.
Or the 1st Sunday in July.
Or here and now.
If there is something we want to change, setting a date may be just the motivation we need to do it. Or we might want to start straight away.
We’re not all the same. And while there are those who will thrive on the idea of NY resolutions, and will make a substantial difference in their life because of them, there are others who prefer to go gently and slowly, and that too is fine.
But don’t quit the idea of resolutions because others are slating it, if it’s something you want to do.
Don’t quit making changes that will benefit you if it’s what you want to do.
Just make sure it’s what you want. And it will be yours!