New Year’s Resolutions

I stopped making resolutions for the simple reason that as soon as they were made, clearly written down, they were forgotten until the following year, when it was time to look back at them and check those that had been accomplished. That was my friend Patricia’s idea. And it was a great one! It all started one January 2000 something. She was coming back from her yoga class and we were sitting in a Cafe, talking about the new year when she lay the flyer she was holding on the table and asked us to write down our hopes and aspirations for the brand new year. We were younger and full of hope. Our worries were minimal compared to what some of us would go through later in life. We were five of us when we wrote that first draft, a number that increased over the years. After that, we will gather the first weeks of each new year, jotting down our promises on a notebook that Patricia will keep until the following year, when we will gather again, for the moment of the truth, with the “Oh” and “Oups!” and the giggles and laughs that followed each reading . However, more than the resolutions, it was a way to all meet and catch up. It was fun, a bonding time and I cherished it until I realized that the words that I wrote down were valuable just at the moment, that as soon as days then weeks passed, I would forget all about them, because once the excitement of the festivities had waned, life returned back to normal, and the new year became just a continuity of the previous year. I remember how my list of resolutions shrank year after year because I ended up thinking that the less I promised myself, the more I would achieve, to no avail! With time my giggles turned into embarrassing smiles until I decided to stop making them. No more hopes and dreams and fake promises for me. I wasn’t going to aspire to do things just to end up disappointing myself and subsequently those around me.

For a while, I wondered if it was such a good idea to give them up. It was a bold move to think that this was the time or the year to accomplish your dreams, to aspire to a better you, to make the changes that needed to be done. So I spent years making resolutions that I was never capable of keeping, but the day I decided to stop buying myself “frivolous” things for an entire year, I stuck to my decision. Maybe that’s what I  should do from now on. Instead of making a resolution, I should turn it into a decision because, if a resolution is an intention to act, a decision on the other hand is a determination to act. You can always postpone a resolution. How many of us have done so, year after after just to give up or forget all about it? But when it comes to a decision, how many of us have stuck to it? I have a friend whose resolution had been the same for years; “Quit smoking” until the day he decided he was done with cigarettes to never smoke again. Also how many times have we talked about our resolutions with a light tone, only to show a serious face when talking about the decisions we just made? I feel like resolutions are made to make our lives better while decisions are life changing, for better or worse. Or is it me who was expressing my resolutions the wrong way? Maybe being too vague lessened their impact on my mind? Probably writing down ” I will check on my friends every two weeks ” would have meant more than “I will be a better friend”, depending on your definition of a better friend. I can’t remember all the resolutions I have made in the past but I do remember the decisions and I went through them all. Maybe that is what I should do: make a list of all my decisions for this new year and see if it makes a difference. Instead of my resolutions for this year are…, I will write “I have made the decision to…” and list them. I will stick with two decisions though, just to be sure!

 

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