It’s New Year’s Eve…Again.
Many of you, in between the varied, harried dashes of this day will spare a small moment to consider what to feel guilty about for the next month, in the form of:
Making New Year’s Resolutions!
If I have reached you in time, if you’ll allow me to do so, may I make a serious suggestion?
I can? Thanks. Here goes:
Don’t make any resolutions. (Especially not those in capital letters.)
Just don’t do it. You won’t be hurting yourself or letting yourself down. You’ll just be saving yourself the grief of dealing with a cultural tradition that doesn’t really impact your life – accept for that diet plan and year-long gym membership you bought; sorry, you’re stuck with those.
But seriously, the holidays are stressful enough. Don’t fuck with yourself about your supposed shortcomings.
For one thing, it’s a bullshit tradition. How many people have you even heard of that make a resolution on New Year’s Eve and keep the damn thing through, say, March? Not many. Maybe none. New Year’s Resolutions are one of those cultural artifacts we engage in either because it is tradition, or because we think it sounds like a good idea. (If you’re wondering about the quality of those thoughts – about it being a good idea – remember that many of the people having those thoughts are also having a drink or two; or ten.)
For another thing, personally, I think the beginning of a new year should maybe be spent thinking about and hoping for the good things we want in the new year. Not changes for what we think is the better. Those are just thinly veiled negative self judgments. No, I’m talking about real hope…
…for and easing of illness or return to health,
…for reuniting with loved ones and old friends,
…for discovering your path and your place and your passion in this world.
Those are all wonderful things to hope for. Hope for things to be better, not just lip service to some set of standards.
And that kind of hope, well, that kind of hope doesn’t come in the form of resolutions. It doesn’t come in words or statements of intent – no matter how well motivated those statements may be.
That kind of hope is a feeling.
I encourage you to take some time this New Year’s Eve to let yourself feel that kind of hope. No need to give it a name.
(As an aside, I will say that the beginning of a new year has some psychological weight to it. It feels momentous. So, if you’ve been planning something for a while, if you already have something in the works and are just looking for a time to set it loose, then yeah, the beginning of a new year is a good time. But so are the Equinoxes and Solstices. They actually have a tangible connection to nature and the rhythms of our planet. But if you’re not already in process, just don’t worry about it. It’s not worth it. Enjoy the moment, free of the weight of all the normal bullshit. You deserve it.)