It’s that strange time between Christmas and the New Year when I always wish that we could just roll the two holidays into one without the gap in between. As Michael McIntyre so accurately observed in his comedy sketch, we never seem to know quite what’s what in those days between Christmas and New Year! And of course if the New Year began immediately after Christmas Day, think what a lot of travelling could be avoided!
But I don’t foresee that anything is likely to change just to please me and in fact, the lull in the festivities gives us an opportunity to ponder that great tradition, the New Year’s Resolutions!
For years now, I’ve made just one Resolution and it’s always the same one because it serves me so well – to remind myself often that what we get isn’t always what we deserve!
It works both ways; sometimes we get more than we deserve, other times less. Oh yes, I do know that biblical saying about reaping and sowing! But I don’t honestly believe it always holds true. For instance how on earth can a child born with crippling disabilities or the elderly being abused in a 'care home' be reaping what it has sown; the same goes for the victims of crimes, accidents and natural disasters who may well be the reapers of what others have sown.
In spite of this, how often do we ask ourselves when something goes badly wrong, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ and the honest answer as far as I’m concerned, is, ‘Probably nothing at all’. And similarly when we are on the receiving end of good fortune, it’s sometimes more appropriate to be grateful rather than thinking it’s what we somehow ‘deserve’.
Lessons from the past year and goals for the new one.
But as well as this general, all-purpose resolution of mine, I like to look back over the year as it comes to an end, and look for useful lessons to take into the new year, to evaluate the successes and failures and to set goals for the coming twelve month period.
For most of us, these goals tend to take the form of things to give up, ways to ‘improve’ ourselves in some way - lose x pounds in weight, be nicer to the brother-in-law I can’t get on with, do some drawing every single day, for instance; and they tend be embarked upon with enthusiasm and then fizzle out by the end of January.
Goals or Wishlists?
This could be down to the way we choose and frame our goals. A long time ago I read somewhere that when asked to name their ‘goals’, few people can do it with much enthusiasm. But ask them to name their ‘wants’ and they’ll easily come up with an extensive wishlist! So maybe it’s simply a question of what we say to ourselves that makes the difference between achieving our goals - or not.
For instance, instead of saying that your goal is to avoid fattening foods, try, ‘I very much want to fit comfortably into my summer clothes this year’.
Instead of telling yourself to be nicer to that irritating brother-in-law, try, ‘I want to enjoy the company of my brother-in-law in as many ways as possible’.
I don’t know if it works but it’s worth a try!
Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!