The New Year brings about a list of resolutions—goals to achieve. Surfing online would bring you articles on how to lose weight, how to read more this year, or how to keep your resolutions. The onslaught of articles and promises that fill my feeds makes me wonder: do we really need a new year to make resolutions on our lives?
In my teen years, I remember making the yearly resolutions from losing weight to doing better in school. By the second quarter of the year all of that has been forgotten. By the time I was in University, I had planners and calendars to keep me track, by the second half of the year, drowned in school work, rather than a list of milestones towards the fulfillment of my New Year resolution, I had accumulated a list of reasons I could never get back to running or getting better grades. Eventually, I gave up on New Year’s Resolutions. The society-wide practice became more and more a ‘should be’ rather than a meaningful attempt at being better.
I cannot recall when it happened, but in my 20s I found myself reviewing the life I have lived every October. Before I celebrate another year of life, I would review the year I have lived and sought areas that require improvement. This has become the tradition of my adult life. As I lead up to my birthday, my journals are filled with thoughts on the life I have lived so far. Had I become a better person? Where did I often fall short? Was I an angry 28 year old? Was I a selfish 29 year old? Was I a bitter 30 year old?
Intrinsic to this self-evaluation was a crafting of what one could call a Resolution. Before I turn another year older I wonder at the state of things, and seek out the areas in my life that I could be better. While they came in a form of goals, I never felt the need to truly call them resolutions, rather I called them commitments. They were not goals that stated that after one year I should be less angry or friendlier, rather they were part of an ongoing process of change. Hence, when I am still fostering some bad habits 6 months since my birthday, I do not see it as having failed to meet the goal, rather as an opportunity to assess the root of it and once again re-commit myself to the change. The commitment after all is not for a single year, rather for a life goal to be a better person.
While the New Year is a wonderful marker by which we all can make plans and promise ourselves a better year and an improvement in the various aspects of our lives, I have come to realize that should we choose, each moment, as we assess ourselves, is an opportunity to make a resolution–a commitment. Short term goals, creating measurable and feasible goals are helpful, but I also feel that better resolutions are resolutions that look at the wholeness of our lives. The commitment of this year must be seen in the wholeness of our lifespan.