What’s in a New Year’s resolution? Why do we bother making them, or flatly refuse to make them? They can really affect our emotional processes, we make them expecting to break them, proving over and over again to ourselves that we can’t change. We try our best to keep motivated fighting our own personal battle with our own willpower. Sometimes we do well, sometimes we fail. Many of us don’t make them so that we can protect ourselves from the feeling of failure. We say they are nonsense and mean nothing.
My partner, Mick, says the same every year; “my new year’s resolution is to make no resolutions”. I always think it is pretty funny that he is in fact making a resolution just by saying that.
I take making a new year’s resolution very seriously. I think about it for days and discuss ideas with different people. Once I decide what it will be then that is it. I don’t make a grand gesture of it, just silently to myself as we all sing Auld Lang Syne I make my pledge to myself. I don’t usually tell other people about my resolution, maybe just a few trusted friends, but usually nobody else. Sometimes I just say something randomly when people are asking about resolutions because I don’t want to let anyone know what mine is.
For me my resolution is a personal pledge to myself, something I will either achieve or not achieve, but something I can measure myself against. Some resolutions that I made many years ago I still do determinedly all of the time, some I just didn’t get the hang of and they didn’t stick. Some I did for quite a while and then just stopped doing them.
When I was 40 years old, twenty years ago now, I decided to take better care of my skin and wear makeup. Until I was 40 I had only ever used makeup on special occasions like my wedding day or going out for a very special meal. It made the resolution because my son gifted me a very expensive Estee Lauder makeup set, full of lots of creams, powders, mascara, eye shadows, you name it! It was in a big and beautiful golden coloured box, with drawers and sections. I still have the box now; it is full of keepsakes. I have used makeup every single day since, mostly always Estee Lauder, sometimes other nice makeup that I treat myself to.
A few years ago I decided I would do something every day to improve the life of someone else. I realised after a few weeks that it was a bit of a cop out. It is my paid job to do that and to be honest, even when I am not working I volunteer in a local community centre and do all sorts of other stuff. It did give me chance to focus on how to make life better for someone else though, so that is a good thing.
Getting fit and running stuck for a while, I did the whole C25K thing and felt really fit and accomplished for a good long while. Not so much now because I just can’t seem to get motivated.
Writing and journaling didn’t stick at all, not past two to three weeks actually. I resolved to write about my day every single day last thing at night. I did it for a couple of weeks and then found I just fell asleep every night as soon as my bum hit the mattress. Another one that didn’t stick was meditating every day. It’s just not me, I get too distracted. I replaced it with walking and listening to motivational podcasts or audio books, perfect for me and audio books have been a revelation to me.
I am not going to share with you my 2023 resolution. For those of you that know me I will leave it to you to see if you notice me doing anything unusual for me, something you haven’t seen me do very much before.
Resolutions are not just for new year; you can make a decision to do something different anytime you like. You don’t have to tell anyone else, but having an accountability partner can help you to keep focussed and on track. Good luck with any resolution you have made for 2023.