Changing something about yourself because the calendar changed is kind of a strange idea.
That's my main issue with resolutions. Now, if you have a New Years resolution I think that's great. You should totally lose weight or exercise or meditate. What I'm talking about here is going beyond that. Don't just resolve something, plan it and make it a goal.
What I'm talking about is shifting from New Years resolutions to New Years review. Let me explain.
The end of the year is a natural place to look back and take stock, and to look forward and plan. As humans we sort of gravitate to this structured time that has arisen over the year. We group our days into weeks to give a natural rest period at the end of a week, and weeks into months into years. Since the year is the largest chunk that most of us think about on a regular basis, it becomes the most significant in terms of rest in a larger sense.
So we make plans at the end of the year, for the new year coming. The problem is that those plans often get derailed (like all plans) and we never reassess them to create new baselines or even make them realistic in the first place. It's like one failure dooms the whole project. Imagine that kind of behavior in any other environment.
"Sorry, boss, the company overspent on the contract last week so I burned down the office and gave the company car to that homeless guy on the corner. Better luck next year!"
What do successful projects do? They start with a solid and achievable goal. They hold regular meetings to address issues and check progress against schedule. They meet deadlines. They document and detail success before even beginning.
That's the kind of New Years that I want to be involved with. And not just in my personal life. It stretches out to all aspects: spiritual, family, professional, the list goes on. So this year I'm trying to approach it a little differently. I don't want to just set some arbitrary goals and be done with it. I want it to be meaningful.
I want to look back on what happened this year and count my blessings, assess where I fell short or times when I felt inadequate or uncomfortable. And I want to set up goals that I can achieve, and structure them so that even if I fall short I will still be accomplishing something meaningful.
It really is amazing to me how a small step toward improving yourself, toward looking beyond the immediate wants in your life, can lead to a deeper desire to keep moving forward. A small victory in one area can spur you on to keep looking for more. So make something small and achievable as the first step. A baby step. Get that taste of success that will push you to bigger and better things.
At least you'll have something small completed, so there is nothing to lose but a little time. Worst case it can be your New Years resolution and it'll be over quick.
As for me, I want this to be an intentional time. A reflective time. A proactive time. I hope you agree.