New year, new you – right? Isn’t that the intent behind the ever growing popularity of New Years resolutions? A reflection upon the past year and a commitment to yourself to be better and to do better.
We have the Romans to thank for this resolution madness. They began each year by making promises to the god Janus for whom January was named. This practice has continued through the years showing up in different religions and cultures. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays which culminate in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), people reflect upon their wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. In Christianity, many people prepare for the year ahead by praying and making resolutions at special watchnight services held on New Years Eve.
At the end of the 19th century, resolutions were focused on being and doing good: one resolved to become less self-centered, more helpful, to be a more diligent worker, or to improve their character. Todays lists are a bit different.
Most resolutions are very general in nature and increasingly superficial. They range from losing weight (the most popular resolution in North America) and quitting smoking (a resolution that only 10% of people succeed at) to getting a better job and being less grumpy.
I have to admit, I am guilty of some of this superficial list making as you shall soon see. I normally don’t make New Years resolutions, but this past year I actually took a bit of time and made a list of things I wanted to accomplish or improve about myself. Being that it is now 2013, I guess it’s time to look back at that list and see what worked and what didn’t and what I still have to work on.
So…without further ado, may I present — duh, duh, duh, duh
Goals for 2012 and Beyond (a.k.a. Do it like Buzz)
Move more. Eat less.
As you can see, the first on the list is partly in the superficial realm. This resolution was made not only thinking about losing some weight and becoming more fit, but more with the idea of being healthier in general. I wanted to exercise some everyday – whether it be going to the gym, taking a yoga class, or even just walking around the block. I also wanted to eat less of the foods that weren’t so good for me and more of the foods that were.
So how did this resolution pan out you ask…Great. I am moving more and eating less. I am no longer at a desk job for 8 hours a day – I am volunteering and doing many different (occasionally backbreaking) activities as this blog can attest to. I am eating healthier and snacking less. I am feeling pretty good about my about my weight, my body and my health. So…I would say this resolution is a done deal.
I love learning new things. I am curious by nature and when I see something I dont understand or that is new to me I try to figure it out. For New Year’s I vowed to take some classes and read more books. To immerse myself in knowledge and let in envelope me.
Yes, I could have done more of this – you can always do more. But looking back, I learned a good deal this past year. I learned how to milk a cow and make cheese. I learned how to build a blog and stick to it. I learned to trust my instinct and to know my own worth. There is always more to learn and I will always be learning more.
Do work that I truly enjoy, or in turn, learn how to enjoy the work that I am already doing.
Considering that I quit my job in April, you might think that this resolution was not kept, but it was – sort of… I decided to quit my job because it was not fulfilling and I knew that I could be doing something else that was. I was fortunate enough to be able to go back to my previous workplace from time to time and pick up a couple of weeks work here and there. This situation turned out to be exactly suited to my and their needs. I could get a bit of money and see some old friends and keep my skills somewhat fresh, and they could get a bit of extra help on projects that really needed it. I found that I appreciated and enjoyed working more, and that my employer was more appreciative of the work that I was doing. It was a win-win for all.
Learn a language and visit a place where they speak that language.
Well for those of you who read my last post, LEARNING – tamil,
you know that I am in the process of accomplishing this feat. When I originally wrote this though, I was thinking more along the lines of learning French and visiting France, but c’est la vie, perhaps next year.
Yes. I am happy. Very happy.
Easier said than done, especially when one is traveling here and there and everywhere. Maybe 2013 will be more eventful in this department. A girl can dream…
Do not become a hermit.
I wasn’t in the best place when I wrote this list. It was the middle of winter and the incessant rain and gray skies were definately having an effect on my mood. I was becoming depressed and withdrawn. I turned down invitations to go out with friends and was spending an increasing number of hours alone. Realizing this, I made an anti-hermit vow and I kept it.
Be more creative. Make and Do.
When I was young we had a set of children’s books, kind of like encyclopedias. My favorite of the set was the Make and Do book. It was full of quirky eighties crafts like macaroni art and potato stamps. I love looking through the pages and getting ideas for my next creation. I’ve always been pretty crafty, but for the past several years I hadn’t been able to stick to a craft. I would buy the supplies and have very good intentions of doing this and making that, but it would all just end up in the closet.
When I decided to sell everything I own this included all of my craft stuff. It was difficult, but necessary. So this resolution didn’t quite pan out how I anticipated, but I am being more creative with this blog.
Go to a doctor. Go to a dentist.
I really hate going to the doctor and dentist. The sterile smell of the office, the different offensive noises assaulting my eardrums, a perfect stranger knowing my most intimate details – not my idea of a good time. But, it is a necessity and one that I should be doing more frequently.
I did not go the doctor last year, and I did not go to the dentist either. I am going tomorrow.
My friends swear by it, but I have yet to try it. Maybe when I get back to Seattle I will finally give it a go.
My grandparents are total believers in the power of vitamins. Seriously, my grandma has a bag the size of a small carryon for her vitamins alone. But, considering that they are in their late 70’s and early 80’s and still jetting around the globe raising money and saving lives (they are the Founders and International Directors of Child Haven International
) I think there may just be some truth to the vitamin fanaticism.
So yes, I am taking some vitamins. Not as many as I could, and probably not as many as I should, but some is better than none.
Write in a journal.
I have tried many times to keep a journal. I usually keep up with it for a week or two at most. I don’t really know why I stop, whether I simply run out of things to say or the novelty just wears off. But I really liked the idea of journaling and I thought it would be a good way to build up my writing skills. I had been toying with the idea of blogging, but was still quite far from it when I made this resolution.
While I didn’t start keeping an actual journal, I did eventually start this blog which is very much like a journal. So, I call this one accomplished.
Don’t hide. Seek life.
Again with the hermit thing. It took a few months but I finally got up the courage to get out of situation and to make my life how I wanted it. You can read the story in the how it all began
section of this blog.
As you can see, I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do this past year, but I tried. This has been an amazing year full of new opportunities and friendships, overcoming challenges and receiving rewards. I am so thankful that I am able to do what I am doing and to live how I choose to live. Everyday I see and understand how very fortunate I am and I continually strive to deserve it.
A good friend brought this quote to my attention recently, and it seems a very fitting way to end this post.
Happy New Year. Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t find the time. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Vow not to make a promise you don’t think you can keep. Walk tall, and smile more. You’ll look ten years younger. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I love you’. Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world. -Ann Landers
Are you a resolution maker or a resolution breaker? Or perhaps both?
What’s on your list for this brand new year? I wish you luck, whatever they may be.
Thanks for reading!