Like many people, I am terrible when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. You end the year with the best of intentions. You sit down, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and then decide you need to make a change. So, you write up a couple of resolutions. This year, you promise yourself that you’ll do that thing you’ve been meaning to do for ages. You might actually succeed. If you’re like me, however, you probably won’t.
For many years, I’d make a resolution or few. I’d try as hard as I could to stick with the aforementioned resolution. For a few weeks or a couple of months, I might manage to keep going with whatever it is. Despite my best efforts, stuff happens to get in the way of things. Like the past couple of weeks, I tried to keep with my update schedule. Between The Plague, mostly recovering from The Plague, and New Year’s Eve, I’m surprised I managed to post much of anything at all. I meant well, but I didn’t have a realistic view of my limitations.
Look, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make resolutions or try to take the first day of the year as an opportunity to shed old patterns and try something new. For some people, it works just fine. The passage of time can be a great motivator. It gives you a good time frame to work with. It’s like having a deadline. Sure, it’s a 365 day deadline. That’s not so bad. It’s actually fairly doable for a lot of the stereotypical New Year’s Resolutions of starting a new fitness regimen and trying out that new hobby you always meant to take up.
One of the things I’ve noticed throughout my consumption of various forms of media is the assumption that New Year’s Resolutions are all doomed to failure. Marketing teams fill the commercials and advertisements of late December and early January with motivation to try and turn another page in the book of life. They bank on people feeding into the belief that they need to make that change now. So, people end up spending hundreds of dollars joining gyms and buying fitness equipment or who knows what they feel they need to better themselves.
When it seems like you’re being set up for failure, why do it? It’s simple. Why not try? There’s always the chance that you’ll succeed.
Just Do You
A couple of years ago, I decided to stop making resolutions. It’s not that I didn’t want improvement. I was just tired of punishing myself for failing to meet those goals. Sure, I’d try to take it all in stride. I’m not much for self-flagellation and regrets. It’s just not my style. That doesn’t stop those creeping thoughts late at night as I’m trying to sleep, though. That’s another story for another time.
Instead of making resolutions as the new year dawned, I decided that I was just going to keep one thought in mind through the whole year. All I want out of my time is to be the best me that I can be.
So, every year, I tell myself that I’m going to spend the year trying to be the best Tegan that I can be. Sometimes, that includes projects like working on getting this site up and running on a more official basis. Others are finally getting my butt to the gym. Sure, that’s kind a New Year’s Resolution sort of thing, but it took me until August last year to finally decide that enough was enough and that I needed to do something about my sedentary lifestyle.
This year is no different. This year, I’m still trying to be the best sort of me I can be. It’s about trying to learn more about the world around me, measure my words carefully, and try to spread my knowledge and joy around. I may stumble a bit. I may be a little dodgy when it comes to my own deadlines. I’m trying, though. Timeliness is on my agenda. Well, at least trying to be better about keeping to my schedule and everything after the last couple of bumpy weeks.
I’m going to end this with a bit of advice. Make a list if it helps you, but do whatever works best for you. Improve yourself on your own terms and timelines. Don’t let an artificial construct dictate how things need to be done. You know what works for you. Go ahead and do it.