How are you doing so far? If you’re like me, you’ll have written a list of New Year’s resolutions that is about the same length and complexity as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Heck, short of wearing a hair shirt this year, you will be perfect dammit!
You will have sleek thighs, a spotless house and the inner calm of the Dalai Lama. No more excess consumption of sugar, carbs, things in packets or boxes, shouting at the kids, thinking anything vaguely ‘toxic’. You get the drift.
Days will be filled with endless random acts of kindness. You are going to be soooo good, every time a butterfly flaps its wings, the lakes of positive karma you are generating are going to make a yak smile in Nepal.
I can guarantee that there will be a flaw in your cunning plan to be nicer than Mary Berry whilst combining the intellectual vivacity of a young Germaine Greer with the mysterious allure of Claudia Winkelman’s fringe.
If you are not doing it for YOU – you’re on a high road to nowhere.
Yes, if you have added a resolution to your list to make someone else happy at the cost of your own bank balance, peace of mind and happiness, it’s all going to go pear-shaped pretty early on.
How many of us join gyms because our partners helpfully ‘suggest’ we’d look better if we lost a few pounds?
How many of us decide to read mind-numbing pseudo-scientific tomes and dreary best-sellers in an effort to make ourselves more interesting.
It’s about as sensible as learning all the 64 words for ‘the’ in Russian language when the nearest you’ll get to Moscow is a bottle of vodka.
There are, indisputably, resolutions we should undertake for the benefit of our health – drinking less, eating better, exercising more, but if we are doing any of these to seek someone else’s approval, now is not the time.
I think our motivation to make serious, long-lasting changes can take a real knock if we fail with our resolution at the first hurdle. Better to wait until we are ready – at a time not dictated by the turn of the year, the addition of another digit to the man-made records of time. Man-made – there’s the rub, to quote Shakespeare. Is anyone keeping a track of the change of years in the rest of our galaxy (apart from astronomers)? No? Exactly.
You know, if you find yourself designing your life with the sole intention of pleasing others, the best New Year’s Resolution you could make, if you can’t quite kick the habit, is to please yourself.
If we are happy in ourselves, don’t you find that a lot of petty problems fall away? We don’t worry about the extra pounds, our weird laugh, our inability to read a wine-list or, in Ieuan’s case, a habit of adding strawberry jam to his chicken goujons.
We can learn a lot from our kids. They embrace the moment and are glorious in their individuality – right up until a helpful adult suggests a few ‘changes’ they might like to make. You can see where it all starts, can’t you?
So, this New Year’s Day, I hope you’ll junk the resolution list and instead write a list of things to do just for you.
And if they’re weird, odd or laugh-out-loud peculiar – good.
Trust me, the Galaxy Time Police are probably having today off too.
Happy New Year!
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