In the words of John Lennon in 1971: Three. Two. One. Here we go again, another year over, a new one just begun.
For just about every New Year that I can remember I’ve made statements to the effect, “Thank God that year’s over, next year can only be better!” Every year!
So, what went wrong, every year? I got my noble, life-changing resolutions in on time, I cleansed the previous year, and I was full of positive energy and optimism. Yet by year’s end I was so overwhelmed by all the failures and problems that all I had to look forward to was New Year’s Eve so I could douse all the crap and start with a fresh slate.
There’s barely a soul I speak to who doesn’t have similar feelings.
Occasionally a resolution sticks but it’s usually due to a strong passion to achieve a worthwhile goal or extreme urgency from a health scare.
My observation is that goal setting success has nothing to do with dates but everything to do with personal belief and strong motivation.
I suggest that New Year’s resolutions are doomed to fail because they are founded on procrastination and resentment.
“Procrastination?” you ask.
Well, why is the 1st of January the day to start critical resolutions that affect health, finances, relationships, career and wellbeing?
If action needs to be taken in October, why delay? Come January you would have two months head start.
Ignoring urgent action such as changing diet or having that heart checkup, could mean you don’t even see January 1.
“Resentment?” This means blaming the year that is for all that could have been and isn’t.
I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to making excuses for my shortcomings and as the current year’s dusk glows gold and pink in the west, it forms the perfect target.
I launch my year’s problems, failures, tragedies and desperation into the irresistible western inferno and let nature obliterate them, on my behalf.
All events, good and bad occur, then dates are attached, not the other way around, so it’s not the year’s fault.
When I wait until the 1st of January to implement my goal I’m not showing much faith in its value. If it’s truly worthwhile I’ll give it every chance to succeed by taking action straight away.
By joining the hordes of New Year’s resolutionists, will I compromise my goals?
A bit like that last minute homework assignment that was scribbled while on the bus on the way to school. I only got a C but that was better than having a letter sent home to my parents.
Instead of fixating on all that went wrong this year, I’d get more value from analysing all the data.
I once heard a scientist explaining his conclusions about pumping performance to a captive audience at an irrigation conference. He demonstrated on the projector screen how he deleted certain “extraneous” data to produce the curve he desired.
I was familiar with those unwanted readings, and they were real, and relevant. In that instant he lost his credibility and my respect. When reflecting, honesty is always the best policy.
There are 525,960 minutes in a year, and they can’t all be bad. I’m sure that on reflection there are a whole lot more reasons for gratitude than regret.
My immediate resolution, right now, is to not make hollow New Year’s resolutions, to be grateful for all the good stuff, learn from the bad stuff and live out goals that are worthwhile and true to my core values.
Charlie Griffiths is a certified Life Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming practitioner and author of Runaway Retiree: Do Your Best Work in Your 70s. Visit charliegriffithscoaching.com