Here we are again – and all too quickly it seems – heading into another new year. Time to reflect on the year we’re leaving behind, wondering if and what we might have done differently, and contemplating how we want things to look as we go into 2024 – at least, that’s what I’m doing.
A new year always feels like a new beginning, and there’s a certain thrill to be had in trying to sense opportunities that may lie ahead – or ones I’m going to create – because for me a new year isn’t about the resolve to do better or to give something up, it’s about what I can build upon and looking forward with optimism.
In many ways, I’m not sure I believe in New Year resolutions. As we make our lists for the changes we want to make to see us safely through the next year, we seem not to look at the many things we have achieved over the last 365 days we’re toasting out, but more at what we haven’t. Not a particularly positive starting point.
While resolutions can mean some very serious goals such as career changes, moving house or relationship shifts, mostly they are about procrastination, exercise and just being that little bit healthier. Small wonder that statistically 60% of us embrace the ritual of New Year resolutions, yet in reality only 8% mange to see the promises we have made to ourselves through the month of January, let alone the whole year.
Despite embracing the changes we want to make with determination and resolve, as we go through the year, the very nature of its unpredictability gets in the way and, inevitably, our good intentions begin to slide. By the time we reach the end of yet another year, we’re probably so exasperated with our unresolved resolutions, we have no choice but to use the New Year for all of the changes we didn’t make and that have built up throughout the year. It’s a continuous circle!
Maybe instead of a lengthy list we set down each January, we should start by resolving to be a little kinder to ourselves. Forming new habits in place of old ones is hard. We need to stop setting the bar so high if we want to sit happily in the 8% of those who do achieve their goals as they go through the year. Just one aspiration for change, however big or small, is doable. And let it be something we want to do, not something society or anyone else tells us we should be doing.
As I go into this New Year, I am going to try and look at it with a fresh perspective. I will look back over the year I am leaving behind and appreciate all the things I have achieved, rather than the things I haven’t, and if there are resolutions to be made, let them be to see the opportunity and limitless possibilities in the accomplishments we have already made and build upon that. Simply being proud of ourselves is a good start to any year.