“A resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.”
– Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd
I have made one big(ish) change this year, I’ve given up Diet Coke (which has become a slightly problematic addiction), but I’m not going to call it a New Year’s Resolution. The weight and significance of that label makes falling off the wagon or a non-starter even more embarrassing.
I have reached a point in my life where I see no point in allocating myself annual resolutions, knowing that from experience the course of a year can change drastically in the space of a few weeks. 365 days is a long time, you can become a completely different person from one month to the next; how can any 1st of January resolutions be malleable enough to withstand this process?
My resolutions of yore have leaned towards the general, everyone makes them, resolutions. Pointless statements I made to fit in to the resolution making crowd.
These are a few of my past and (mostly) failed at resolutions:
- Write a daily journal
- Stop drinking Diet Coke
- Join (and use!) the gym
They failed not only because I am lazy, give in, or change my mind, but because they are statements devoid of meaning. Why should I write daily? Why do I need to stop drinking Diet Coke? Why do I need to join the gym? They are arbitrary, and if there is no meaning behind them why on earth should I want to stick with them.
New Year’s Resolutions ought to reflect what you want to gain from the year:
- I will write a daily journal to keep me in the habit of writing and to gather ideas for which I can begin writing a book; I’ll record ideas and poetry that pop into my mind too.
- I will stop drinking Diet Coke as not only is it poisonous and rotting my teeth, it gives me wind – no one wants a gaseous Alice.
- I will join a gym as I am unhappy about the state of my body and want to get into shape so I can feel more confident about myself and in the company of others.
Making resolutions is not a pointless endeavour, I know people who thrive on a year of them! However, I am fickle and I have a habit of veering off course when being told what to do – even if the orders are coming from me.
This is especially applicable to reading; I know what I enjoy and I know there are books in abundance that I won’t discover without the help of others. However, I want to meet challenges are they happen, not set the standard by which I discover them. As long as I read widely I will be happy.