New Year’s Resolutions

 

New Year’s Resolution: 8/10 for 2013 

“How few there are who have courage to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.” –Benjamin Franklin

As the clock ticks midnight, the champagne bottles are popped, the ball in Times Square drops, the date changes, families hug, lovers kiss, a chorus of Auld Lang Syne begins and the world over many promises are made.  After reflections upon our past year we attempt to make amends in this new year, it’s our attempt at self-improvement. A simple Wikipedia definition tells us what we already know; New Year’s Resolutions are promises we make to ourselves to start doing something good or to stop doing something bad. It’s a new year and we want a new beginning. This is an opportunity to make one for ourselves. Usually, right at that moment when the champagne is popped and drank and all of the family is hugged, I would always disappear into my room or cabin (depending on if we are at home or on the boat) and write a list of resolutions. I write them, read them, and then never look at them again.

Every year my dad would proclaim to everyone, as he had done the year before, that he doesn’t make resolutions. Twenty how-many-ever odd years ago he made one last resolution and that was to stop making resolutions. He kept it. I grew up with this and always agreed with him. Why wait for a whole new year to change something about you? You are here now and you have to live out the how many ever months until Old Years night living the same way, then, as the clock strikes twelve and a new year begins you’re going to somehow change the pattern of your life to bring you closer to the image of the person that you want to be simply and solely because it is a new year. Why not start from the moment that you think an area of your person, personality, character or attitude of your life needs changing?  If you want to stop smoking, stop. If you’re going to start exercising, start because when you wake up on the 1st of January, not much is going to be different besides the date. The strength that you needed to go on your quest isn’t going to present itself just because it’s a new year. That has to come from inside.

This tradition, useful or not has been tied historically tied into our cultures. It seems that back in the day many different groups of people all had similar New Year’s rituals. The Babylonian people would make promises to their gods at the start of each year; promises to return items on loan and promises to pay back those they were in debt to. The month January is named after a Roman god Janus; their years began with similar promises being made to this God. After Christmastime the knights of the Medieval Ages would retake their ‘peacock vows’ reaffirming their allegiance to the codes of conduct of the knights, chivalry. It’s also the tradition of Judaism on their celebration of the New Year, Yom Kippur, to call to mind all of their shortcomings over the past year and to forgive as well seek forgiveness.

For me, the reality was that I felt like it was a good tradition to be aware of what you wanted to achieve over the next three hundred and sixty-five/six days right at the moment that it began. Similarly, at the beginning of each day, by the time my feet touch the tiles I would have already itemized the important things to get done that day. I make lists, tonnes of lists; I write reminders in list to remember to make other lists. They help me to get what I need to get done by being aware of each and its importance. For this reason I believe that New Year’s resolutions can be useful.  However, if you don’t remember them, read them over or are continuously conscious of them they are almost useless. Yet, if they truly are the desires of your heart then once you keep applying yourself and following the your deepest urges while ignoring and not satisfying instant gratification, you are sure to succeed.

The seconds dropped, we set off the fireworks, popped the champagne, and hugged each other, prayed, sang Auld Lang Syne, someone jumped off the jetted into the water, more followed, and in the middle of it all I went back aboard to my cabin and wrote my New Year’s Resolutions just as I had done for the past six years.  It wasn’t anything extraordinary; a few improvements, a challenge and some personal changes that I felt I needed. Ten things total. Of course as everything else it was a long shot. I could finish everything on it if I didn’t start university in September. I really couldn’t decide on either taking a Gap Year or going on to begin university.  I had a thousand opinions about the person that I wanted to become over the next twelve months, some were more realistic than others but they were still there. As with everything else once I wrote it down it was closer to happening.

Somewhere around 4 am that morning was the last time I ever looked at that list until two days ago when I was flipping through my scantly written in diary. As I read down the list I saw that I had achieved what I set out to scholastically. Sweet! I thought. Then I read it over again and really surprised myself. Of the ten resolutions I had fulfilled eight of them! I didn’t get all but that was because I came to university, so they are back on the list for 2014 hopefully to be completed over summer. I knew who I wanted to become over the following 12 months and I didn’t have to continuously remember a list of resolutions, they were achievements and changes that I earnestly wanted to make. I didn’t do it on my own though, others helped me. Up to less than two months ago there were things that would have been left unachieved if not for help from friends. That was the first time that I decided against composing a list of wonderful things that seemed really glamorous versus achievements which were harder to achieve because they needed real dedication.  This year was also the first time that I’ve ever depended on those around me for general day to day assistance. Of course on a few occasions I was disappointed but if it wasn’t for those around me some of these things would not be completed.  Hence, it is important to surround yourself with people who would assist you and help to bring you closer to the being that you intend to become.  This year I really followed my heart and made decisions that were in my best interest (for the most part) and now looking back I’m ecstatic to see that with the help of friends and family along with some really hard work, I achieved what I initially set out to.

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At around 12:05 am January 1st 2014 you know where I’ll be. Whether I’m in Tobago partying hard, ringing in the New Year with my friends for the past seven years or if I’m  in Grenada on the jetty setting off fireworks with my blood family and those friends might as well be related to me; I’ll be back in my cabin or van and writing down my resolutions. Will I keep them? I sure hope so. And I hope you keep yours too and work hard and achieve so much more in the New Year than you believe you can. Altogether, I don’t think that there is any problem with making New Year’s Resolutions; however, if these are aspirations that you actually intend to achieve I think it’s best to give them a thought and maybe a plan of action as well first. Remember that if you want to make a change in your life you don’t have to wait for midnight on the 1st to make that change; you’re here now, make that change today. Work hard for it, always go the extra mile. 

 

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