RASHMI OBEROI | 4 JANUARY, 2018
88% of New Year resolutions fail
At the start of every New Year, I gear myself for the onslaught of “So, what is your new year resolution?” Therefore, I am always prepared for the flood of questions that revolve around New Year's resolutions… It’s annoying for someone like me who makes none but just goes with the flow.
It's as much a tradition as watching the ball drop: making promises to oneself which will later also be dropped. And yet, year after year, we continue to make these resolutions in the hopes that this New Year will be different. Unfortunately, the only thing that's really different is the year!
Every year people make resolutions to change something about themselves or to start doing something differently. Unfortunately, those New Year’s resolutions end quickly and they are soon back to their old ways. Setting New Year’s resolutions has largely become a joke and it’s probably more useful to write a list of funny New Year’s resolutions and laugh at them.
Take a second to visualize your previous New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like many, you most likely thought about going to the gym, eating healthier, looking at your phone less or maybe even committing to a new hobby. But I’m guessing ‘laugh more’ didn’t come to mind. It should - comedy is a necessity in today’s world.
Like many, I haven’t enjoyed what I’ve seen in the world lately, including terrorism, racism, various social injustices, homelessness and more. We live in a time when you can’t, with any certainty, expect to return home safely each night. We live in a world where the selfless, honest and hardworking sometimes suffer as a result of the cruel and immoral actions carried out by a few. We have many questions and few answers.
Humour offers us a way to try and make sense of the chaos around us. A good joke has layers - at first, an initial laugh, but after further examination, a story or societal observation just waiting to be unpacked. Like a good meal, a proper joke should stick with you well beyond the present moment.
Here's an offbeat exploration of ideas about how to make New Year’s resolutions that actually work, including my own practice, as well as the reason people hate resolutions. For various reasons, mostly my limited attention span, I’m a big believer in setting out simple basic goals then reviewing them from time to time to see how I’m doing, adapt goals, check off completed goals, and other fun stuff. I feel people do this around the New Year, creating New Year’s resolutions, as a way perhaps to start over after an awful year. Or build on a great year.
Regardless of reasons how to make New Year’s resolutions, it never hurts to make time once a year to ask yourself if you’re happy, what you like and don’t like about your life, and what you might want to do in the near future.
Keep your resolutions simple; Choose carefully; Be realistic; Create bite-sized resolutions; Make notes; Treat yourself; Receive support; Don’t give up; Put yourself in charge.
Often, a new year can also be a time to think about a new ‘you’. People often tend to ‘start fresh’ and work on becoming a better version of themselves. A few simple and doable things are: Show kindness at the heart of all your words; Show empathy by putting yourself in others’ shoes; Nurture your relationships; Be mindful of your responsibilities; Respect others as well as yourself.
Remember, you might inspire or encourage someone without even realizing it. Other times, you may have to work hard at encouraging someone. But, it’s worth it. If you could turn just one person’s life around, wouldn’t you?
Whether it’s the start of a new year, a birthday, spiritual new beginning, or just the changing seasons, we humans tend to look for opportunities to wipe the proverbial slate clean and start again. For some, that may mean jump-starting an exercise regimen or eating well. For others, it may mean a commitment to spending more quality time with family and friends.
Research has found that 88% of New Year's resolutions fail, yet millions of us make them every single year. So, as I look forward to year 2018 unfolding, I will carry the hopes of youthful dreams and remember they still live. I will seek to explore and define and ask questions without answers. I will work and play and think and sing and aspire and move. I will try and fail and try some more. Most of all, I will remember that through all of the challenges life delivers, the world is still full of grace and love and joy and mystery and miracles. And it’s a good place to be…
“What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.”