The drinks’ cupboard is all but empty bar the cooking brandy, the wrapping paper has long been binned and the last bits of tinsel are about to be hoovered from the carpet. The festive season is nearly over, and the new year is about to begin. Tradition demands that every New Year’s Day, we all turn over a new leaf; resolutely leave our bad habits behind and strive for a new, improved version of ourselves on the last stroke of midnight of the last night of the year.
But is it realistically possible to simply transform into this upgraded version overnight? Does it really have to be a new year to motivate us to change, especially since the past 365 days do not seem to have done the trick at all? So, ok, maybe the idea of a new year and a fresh start might seem like an attractive concept, and to be fair, as humans, hope does forever spring eternal; the idea of transforming ourselves better is always appealing at this time of year. It is a noble endeavour to set goals to better our lives and by extension those of our nearest and dearest, but reality is a cold companion and a healthy dose of it will keep us grounded as to whatever it is we’re aiming to achieve, ensuring that these newly-fledged goals are well within our capabilities.
Therefore, I think we’d do well to put aside any romantic notions of what resolutions should be like and proceed into the New Year accordingly. For example, promising ourselves that we’ll be travelling all over the globe in 2019, is quite an unachievable goal if we’re simply up to our eyeballs in debt. Resolving to pay off any existing loans and then thinking of saving up for travelling is a much more realistic and attainable goal.
The deal breaker for this resolution lark, is the sheer number of things we take upon ourselves to change. Making a dozen resolutions at one go is as recommendable as opening a bottle of champers a week before New Year – guaranteed to fizzle out well before the opening bars of Auld Lang Syne are played. If you’re the type to love the good things in life, preferably all together in one long sitting, come January 2 you’ll find it’s nigh on impossible to quit smoking, drinking, lose weight and exercise all at the same time, in the quest of a virtuous new you. First of all, think of the reasons of why you want to make the resolutions you do.
For example, why do you overeat? Is it really because you simply love food? Or do you end up eating more than you should when you’re sad or upset? Do you love a good drink, or do you turn to alcohol when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed? Trying to control bad habits when there are underlying emotional issues at play, will make sticking to resolutions impossible. Finding alternatives to a behavioural pattern you want to change is key to getting rid of bad habits once and for all and not just for the first couple of weeks of a new year.
Usually our resolutions tend to focus on our physical well-being, but what about our emotional wellness, which not only affects us but also our nearest and dearest? Why not make a resolution this year as to behave better, treat others with more dignity, respect and kindness and find time for those who need it? Trying not to blow up with our partner, children or colleagues each time we’re stressed or exhausted, for example, might seem like a trivial or insignificant wish in the grand scheme of things but, especially if it’s an ingrained behavioural pattern, the change would certainly enhance the quality of our life and of those around us.
Trying to better ourselves in the way we interact with others, nurturing both old and new relationships should be at the top of our New Year’s resolutions’ list, after all there is no better feeling of wellbeing than when we are at peace with ourselves and the world, whether it’s in the first few weeks of January or the middle of high summer.
Therefore, as the ‘Serenity Prayer’ goes… may 2019 grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference… Happy New Year to all!