My experience with New Year Resolutions has been…inconsistent.
When I was younger, it was just something to do but it held little meaning for me.
As an adult, I gave it another go but the things that ended up on my list looked like a trite regurgitation of stuff I’d read in magazines instead of what really mattered to me.
That was Strike 2.
In recent years, my work and personal life has become ever more intertwined and this has led to more soul-searching and attempts to find a place where things in my life can exist in harmony. It’s less about work-life balance, which is an on-going chore, but about having the right things in the right places – my thoughts, philosophies, attitudes, coping strategies…everything.
Around this time last year, I wrote out a mission statement for Audrey 3.0, to capture what I wanted to be in order for my hybrid existence to be in harmony. There were six points, essentially areas where I felt I needed significant improvement: Discipline, Commitment, Closure, Goals, Balance and Prayer.
A year has passed; a new list of goals are scrawled in my journal… and they are closely aligned to what I’d written last year. Usually, I would take this as yet another example of resolutions being rubbish but instead, something clicked.
My goals and aspirations change only slightly from year to year, if at all, but that’s not necessarily indicative of failure. I can see this now because I realise that those goals are not destinations, they are journeys of self-improvement.
In this light, resolutions mean a whole lot more to me now because it means that every year I am recommitting myself to making improvements – in my attitude, work, behaviour. All those times I thought I’d failed were just steps along the way to making more positive changes. Those changes get carried forward in the form of small gestures, kinder thoughts and words, greater patience and a million other small, day-to-day actions and decisions. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
So go ahead, make those resolutions. They may not stick this year, or the next, but keep trying. Keep making ripples in your life because you never know who those ripples might touch – yourself or the people around you. And in this messed-up world, we need to take every chance we get to do something good; even if you don’t notice the change in yourself for years (or maybe never), you could be a positive change for someone else.
A Blessed Christmas and Joyful New Year to all.