With the new year approaching, the inevitable topic comes up of New Years Resolutions. Folks generally side with one of two teams; to resolution or not to resolution. Resolution folks, “Resolutioners,” tend to be goal setters, list makers, and people who enjoy self-help books. Resolutioners haven’t met a blank check-list they couldn’t instantly fill in. Most Resolutioners enjoy the rush one gets when one brazenly checks off “complete” or “crosses out” an item off a TO-DO list. It’s a feeling of accomplishment….even if the item just said: “get out of bed.” Whoop, cross off, slam dunk!
I used to be a Resolutioner. I had one-year goals, five-year goals, and ten-year goals. My annual Resolution List would include personal goals, career goals, and family goals. My husband and kids did them too. We looked forward to a review at the end of each year to see how well we had done accomplishing what we set out to accomplish. Here’s the document from our 2007 Resolutions.
In 2018, the most common New Year’s Resolutions, however, have to do with short-term goals for the coming year. They are:
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Learn to say NO
- Travel more
- Spend more time with friends
- Learn a new skill or hobby
Only about 8% of people will keep their New Year’s Resolutions, most probably because they make too many or make ones that are too difficult to achieve. People in their twenties and thirties tend to focus on what is lacking in the lives, while seniors focus on what is positive and pleasing them. It should come as no surprise then that seniors rate themselves as happier throughout the year than younger folks do. As a Resolutioner, keeping the focus on what makes you happy is a good start towards achieving your goals.
How did we get started as Resolutioners? About 4000 years ago, the Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Then in 46 B.C., the Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. Beginning in the 1700’s religious celebrations focused on spending New Year’s Eve praying and planning resolutions for the coming year. It seems we have shifted that focus one day forward to allow for parties and planning.
Personally, I left my Resolutionary ways behind about five years ago when I started meditating. I learned to “live in the moment.” I learned to be grateful for whatever came my way, the good and the not so good. In other words, I became a Non-Resolutioner. Goals? What goals? I was on an adventure called LIFE. Every moment was new and exciting. How could I set goals? Resolutions? If I was living in the moment and trying to continually improve and be the best version of “me” I could be, no need for those. What about TO-DO lists? Well, I still have items on my calendar which need to be accomplished, but not in a “Resolutionary way.” Yep, I am definitely on a new team these days.
And a quote for my friends who enjoy a little politically incorrect humor:
Happy New Year!