Once again, at the end of the Christmas festivities, we approach the New Year with good intentions and resolutions to address some aspect of our lives in a productive way.
Whether it is weight-loss, the neglect of opportunities, or an exercise regime, millions use New Year as a chance to address an issue that for them is important, but they have stubbornly refused change in the past. However, the problem with real behavioural change is that it requires absolute commitment and single-mindedness. If we have to resort to the use of “levers,” it may be that this has something to do with our ability to affect a complete resolve to bring change. In reality, nothing less than unswerving resolve will do.
The evidence is all around, mostly as resolutions come to a fizzling end within a fortnight of their inception. It’s true that some people do follow through on a New Year’s resolution, but with millions doing it, that has more to do with the laws of average rather than anything that makes New Year a particularly potent time for lasting change.
Perhaps resolutions have more to do with how we reflect upon ourselves and the people would be would like to become rather than are necessarily new chapters in themselves. We can generate self-renewal any time we like. All we have to do is undertake a reflection process and then take a commitment to be the person that we want to be. The Buddha said, “thoughts become things,” so it’s really important that we can actually conceive of who we want to be and what we want in our lives and develop very concrete visions of just what behaviours, speech and changes in our appearance will bring about to motivate us.
Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard suggested that all reality was truly subjective. We can become the people that we want to be, we just have to choose it and move towards it. This is a daily practice of reflection, action, evaluation and comparison, not some half-baked promise to oneself that one makes in front of mates after a few glasses of Prosecco just before Jools Holland and his guests sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
So, have a great New Year everyone and I do wish you well, but my wishes don’t amount to a hill of beans next to your own resolve. Remember, if you do want New Year to be seriously one of change, the hard work starts now, not on December 31, and continues for the rest of your life!