…Me? You? Us?
It’s a cliché phrase you hear thrown around from person to person. We’re celebrating the start of a New Year, a new calendar, so why not take the time to be a new you as well?
I don’t know if it’s just my Facebook, my social network, but I’ve seen the phrase dashed into the ground this year. I’ve seen posts about how resolutions don’t work; how nothing changes between the end of one year and the start of another. I’ve seen posts about how calendars don’t truly mean anything, they’re a man-made form of time-tracking, and thus neither does “New Year; New Me”. I didn’t realise just how cynical people were on this subject. The thing is, these are exactly the kind of people who are quick enough to say “well, if you wanted to change, why not just do it?”… but on any day apart from New Year’s day, apparently.
The start of a new year, the start of a new month, hell the start of a new week, are all just arbitrary man-made time-frames, that much is true, but they’re great for keeping track, they’re great for staying motivated and determined. As human beings we love statistics, categories, organisation. I love being able to round off 2016 with a list of achievements and go into 2017 with goals.
That said, the cynics are right. Between December 31st and January 1st, nothing really does happen; there’s no real change, you aren’t really a ‘new you’. All that means, though, is that you have to put your back into it; you have to be determined and disciplined. There’s absolutely no shame in making a New Year’s Resolution, and there’s no shame in setting goals for the months or years ahead, but you do have to try and you do have to push yourself to keep going.
I’d recommend making goals that are achievable, resolutions you can and will stick too. Better yet, make resolutions you want to see through. It sounds like such an obvious thing, but I am certain many people make resolutions based on the things they just don’t want to do in the first place: go to the gym, be nice to the annoying people, give more money to charity. Valuable and worthwhile goals, but probably based more on peer pressure than real, self-sourced desire.
My goal is nice and general; it can be summarised as follows: Improve Myself.
It’s broad, it’s vague, it has many other, more specific, little factors contained within. This also means it’s more achievable. I could say I want to go to the gym more, and I do, but right now I’d just settle for being a little healthier; no matter how I get there. I could say I want to write more, and I do, but I’d also be happy if my creativity took me down different avenues as the year goes on. My seemingly vague goal of Improving Myself is everything I want to do, both now and in the future, boiled down into something manageable. I have a baseline – who I was yesterday – and I know all the different aspects of me I could improve on by tomorrow – eat a bit healthier, write a bit more, contact an old friend, etc. Some days will be better than others, some months will be better than others, but I know that I can always just keep improving.