What's it with New Years that began the trend of change? Do you feel a sudden urge of productivity and self realization from December 31st to January 1st? Doubtful. You are virtually the exact same person when you wake up with your drunken hangover from the night before as you were prior to going out the night before. The turning of the calendar rarely gives an insight and some sort of epiphany that wasn't contained there before. Whether it's losing weight, being a kinder person, being more outgoing, etc, you knew it was something you wanted to do even before the special day at the end of the year. So, what is it that makes for New Years to be such a special time? What makes the one time of year the perfect time to make a change?
Perhaps the reason New Years is such a perfect time is because we have a reference. When you take down the old calendar and put up the new one, it is for the most part blank. Completely tabula rosa. Which for those who do not know, is Latin for blank slate. Your blank slate affords you the opportunity to do anything with the upcoming year. Nothing is built on to keep your year from being bad, because nothing has happened yet. It gives you a symbolic fresh start, and for a psyche wanting to be motivated to make change, the appearance of a blank slate can be exactly what is needed to achieve.
Not only is the year blank, but it is defining. Your New Years resolution is judged from your progress on January 1, to December 31. It doesn't change, you can't extend the calendar to compensate, it is finite. You've either succeeded or failed based on you measure of success in a defined allotment of time. And a year. Well, a year is plenty of time to achieve so many goals. You want to lose weight? Well people have made extraordinary gains in a year, hell, people do that in 90 days, thanks to p90x. You want to have a better job? Well jobs don't take a year to obtain something better. You want to learn piano? Well, it takes a long time to perfect, but to learn, and to make progress, you can make leaps in a year. The year sets a beginning and an end, a starting line, and a finish line; the year sets your criterion for determining success.
Failure. Anyone ever wonder why people fail so often at their New Years resolutions? I know I typically do, but they're always resolutions we make for self-betterment. Why do we neglect, or fail to obtain what we realize to be a bettering of ourselves? Is it because it is too difficult? Is it because it takes too much discipline? Is it because we lack thee fortitude to endure? Probably. Probably all of the above, and much more. I know my problem is personal strength and conviction. So, why not make that a resolution? Why not working on bettering the parts of ourselves that are weakest, that facilitate our abilities to better in other facets? Courage, kindness, love, compassion, communication, etc are all characteristics that allow for us to obtain other resolutions, while lending ourselves to be better at a core and extend that betterment to other portions of our lives.
My resolutions? I have a few for sure. I definitely have a few I know I am likely to fail. I suppose my real resolution is to identify the core of my resolution, and figure out how to achieve improvement on that. For instance, one of my resolutions is to find someone to be a good partner to. That's a very surface oriented goal, but at the heart, it's more about improving my ability to be outgoing so that I can actually find someone and act selflessly for them. It's about learning to be more loving, and prioritizing another's needs over my own wants. It's about being a more emotionally effective communicator, so that my counterpart can be open and expressive with me. See? The resolutions aren't just what we say we're going to set out to do, it's about a core of ideals, practices, and characteristics the reside within those resolutions.