Why I don’t like your new years resolution

As I drove home this morning it was difficult not to notice the many cyclists on the road. And I don’t just mean around town, there were cyclists miles out from civilization. Seeing it’s the first of the first today, I think I could safely wager that most of these cyclists were at the beginning of their New Year’s resolutions. I think I can also safely wager that most of them won’t last a month.

I’m not big on New Years resolutions. I never make them, haven’t for a very long time. To me, they’re illogical. If I really have something that I want to achieve, why would I wait to start it on a set day? If my goal is important enough to me I’m going to start it when I first decide I’d like to do it. If it’s unimportant enough to be delayed, chances are it’s not important enough for me to follow it through to its completion anyway. I have to laugh when people decide they’re going to give up cigarettes at New Years. How many people could honestly say that they successfully gave up smoking as a New Year’s resolution? Seriously? If you’re thinking that your decision to quit can wait (even an “I’ll give up in two days time”) then you’re not likely to succeed. Sorry.

I remember the day I gave up smoking and drinking. It was a Wednesday, sunny but not hot. The date was 29th November, 1995. I was given the motivation to quit smoking and drinking on this day, and I have never since touched either (other than the odd sip of bubbley at wedding toasts etc). I remember the day well, and I hope I always will. It was the day we buried a friend. His life was cut short and it gave me my first true glimpse of how fleeting life can be. Why make it shorter than it already is?

I admit I was never a heavy smoker or a big drinker, but I don’t believe that matters. If you want to quit, you will. When the desire changes from a whimsical want into a driving need, you’ll never touch your vice again. Some people might know what I’m talking about, others may never understand. New Year’s resolutions are quite akin to the desire to quit a vice. If the resolution is made simply to have a resolution, or as a whimsical and flippant thought, then chances are the desire to follow through just won’t be there. Having said that, I have friends who constantly follow through on their annual goals and see each through to completion. For instance, a friend has recently completed a goal of posting 365 photos on her Facebook site in a year. There wasn’t a picture posted each day, there were a few times that a handful of pics were posted at a time, but none the less she followed through and achieved what she set out to do. Personally, I think the completion of this goal has more to do with the person than the start date – if she had of started on any other day of the year I have confidence that she would have completed her goal. The day for her was merely a memorable line in the sand.

In 2006 I attended a seminar, part of a weekend workshop that took place in Adelaide, South Australia. This particular speaker was the weekend’s motivational guru. He talked of his life journey, quite an incredible tale of a rise to great heights, followed by a fall into the naked and darkest depths of the soul. He spoke of his struggle to regain his life from depression, substances and near suicides. His tale alone was quite miraculous and encouraging, but I’ll remember the finale in much greater colour and detail. As he drew to the close of his speach, he told us that our own minds are the things that stop us achieving our goals. We tell ourselves “I can’t do this”, or “I don’t deserve that”, and other such rubbish. He then proceeded to carry out what was clearly a very heavy and large canvas bag. He unrolled this on the floor into what became a mat approximately three feet wide by about fifteen feet long. It was filled with broken glass and smashed crockery. He then proceeded to take his shoes and socks off, and roll up the legs of his pants. Then, barefoot, he walked the full fifteen feet length through the glass and crockery. He stated that our minds tell us that we can’t do things, that what we see is impossible, yet in most cases all we need to do is take action and have the determination to follow through with what we begin. That day, everybody in that room (over 100 people) walked barefoot across the broken glass. I changed my mind on that day about what I was capable of achieving.

My post isn’t to belittle those who have made resolutions today. Moreso, it’s a challenge for them to prove me wrong. Make your resolution important to you, and follow it through. Turn your whimsical goal into a “must”, and follow it to completion.

On a side note, I haven’t posted on here for a while. I’ve had a few things happening in my personal life, both terrific and terrible. The renovation is still progressing albeit a little slower than hoped. Since the last post I’ve had the place reblocked, I reinstalled all of the central heating ducts that were removed for reblocking, removed the flooring in the sunroom, readied the kitchen and bathroom for wall removal, removed balastauding in the loungeroom, put guttering on the garage, puttied and sanded walls ready for painting, removed a toilet, taken the first trailer load of rubbish to the tip… lots of small but necessary jobs.
The below photo is a before and after shot taken inside the bathroom. Yes, it’s the same vantage point. The bathroom walls are about to be removed and the pokey little bathroom and separate toilet are to become a decent sized room.

My focus of late hasn’t entirely been on the house though – I’ve been reminded that there are things far more important than renovating. My own empty goals have been given fresh life and reason. Despite what the Mayans thought, I think 2012 is going to be a great year…

Jan 1st, 2012 | Posted in Life

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