It’s here, 2012, the year the world is supposed to end, well, according to the Mayan calendar anyway. The end of the world notwithstanding, the beginning of the new year marks the start of a ritual practiced by thousands across the nation; making New Year’s resolutions. “The tradition of the New Year’s resolution,” writes Gary Ryan Blair, “goes all the way to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar. With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year” ( http://EzineArticles.com/245213). For decades, people have started the new year pledging to improve their life in one way or another. To that end, the resolutions that usually top the list for most people are losing weight, exercising more, and quitting smoking. Back when I engaged in making resolutions, I too included losing weight and exercising more as my top resolutions (thankfully smoking was never a habit I struggled to break). Learning to speak Italian and taking more photographs were not too far below my top resolutions. Needless to admit, I don’t speak Italian and I usually get to caught up in events to remember to take photographs. Proudly, I have been exercising more and as a result have lost some weight, but this has everything to do with relieving stress and getting stronger than some long ago failed and forgotten resolution.
For me, making New Year’s resolutions was not only futile, but it was also strewn with grandiose and unrealistic goals given where I was at in my life. Ironically, since giving up on making New Year’s resolutions, I have unwittingly achieved some of the goals I was once feverishly tried to check off my resolution list. Most noticeably, during the past several months I have been exercising more which has resulted in my being able to fit into clothes that have been hiding out in the back of my closet for ages.Where I once wanted to exercise to achieve a check mark next to a list, today exercising has become an integral part in the way I relieve stress, gain strength and achieve clarity. There is no resolution list for me to keep up with or beat myself over the head for not sustaining, instead, the increased strength and joy of experiencing my body change is all the impetus I need to continue exercising. Although I may hem and haw at times over going to the gym, I am always better for going, and yes, fitting a little more nicely into clothes doesn’t hurt either. No doubt when I get back to the gym it will be littered with an increased volume of people who have pledged to reach the strength and clarity I have been fortunate enough to experience while working out. Some of these people will be successful, while others will fail. Of course, while this race to the resolution finish line occurs, frequent gym goers like me will have to try and navigate the increased traffic that makes going to the gym anything but pleasant.
Just because I no longer engage in making New Year’s resolutions means that I think any less of those who do, nor am I advocating that people not make resolutions. I am not the Anti- Resolution Maker. I wish all the best to those who have resolved to change something about themselves in 2012. When positive, change is a beaming energy source that lights our paths and touches the lives of those around us in ways we may never fully realize in this life. Resolutions have never been the source of this sort of change in my life. My drive to change has typically come from an introspective crossroad in my life that fell sometime before or after the start of the new year. Perhaps the new year is when that gust of introspection appears in your life, or perhaps the new year is when you have the time and the presence of mind to participate in such introspection. Whatever the case may be, may I recommend the following prior to committing to a resolution:
1. Why are you making this resolution?
2. How will committing to this resolution change your life and the life of those around you?
3. Do you have the resources, tools, and wherewithal to realistically achieve your resolution?
4. Are you ready for the distractions and obstacles that will appear in your journey towards achieving your resolution (otherwise known as life)?
Whether you make resolutions or not, I hope that 2012 is a happy, healthy, joyous, and peaceful one for us all. Happy New Year!