Why New Year's Resolutions are Important

Published: 18th January 2007
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On New Year's Day 2007 I did my ritual of looking back at last year's diary to see how many of my resolutions I had achieved. I counted 7 out of 12, over 60%. Some were not really applicable any more, so my success rate could be interpreted as even better than that. I felt very pleased with myself and promptly made the resolutions for 2007.

One week into the new year, you are likely to be struggling with those resolutions you have made to improve your life in some way. You are probably wondering why you are bothering, when it seems so difficult to stick to them. But hang in there! persistence usually pays off. This time of year is rife with personal promises which reflect past disappointments, frustrated dreams, lost ideals, individual yearnings and aspirations. Some people are inclined to ridicule the idea of making resolutions and trying to stick with them. But making these objectives at the start of each year is as crucial to feelings of worth and progress as actually achieving them. Many people might get despondent at not sticking to them for a long time, but any effort is better than nothing. By focusing on something you desire, you are likely to have it because you will work harder for it.

Resolutions are not just whims or idle promises. They emphasise past progress and rekindle new hopes. They demarcate the past and the present into manageable sections which acknowledge effort as well as the obstacles. They are likely to relate to losing weight, getting a new job, meeting a new soulmate, getting promotion, starting a new course, travelling, giving up smoking, reducing excesses in our lives and developing a new attitude to life, among many others. We often get strung up on not achieving all or most of those resolutions, so we become demoralised by our perceived failures in our search for perfection and then cease to bother. However, achieving all the stated resolutions is not the point. What resolutions do, in fact, is help us to acknowledge the weaknesses and gaps in our lives and then make a commitment to improve them over the next year... a period which can be easily monitored. They also give us something to look forward to, as we will make a greater effort to achieve them. That is the essence of any resolution.

Changing priorities
Thus, achieving 100% of all our resolutions is unrealistic and a fallacy. Mainly because, by the time we reach the middle of the year, our priorities would probably have changed anyway, and what we started with as a special goal would not be so important anymore. If we achieve just 20% of our goals they will have an effect on us that was not foreseen and will actually push us along, gradually, towards the person we aspire to be, or the destination have in mind. It is when we don't even try at all that our lives take a knocking and we stay in the same rut constantly because the need to make resolutions means that something is missing from our life which would improve its quality. We cannot ignore it.

For example, if you made three goals (to find a partner, to see some of the world and to stop smoking), this is what is likely to happen. You may find the partner first, but she smokes too. Suddenly, the need to stop smoking might not be so important anymore because you have a kindred spirit to share it with. Or you might decide you don't want to travel after all because, having fallen in love, you will both be busy planning for life together and need the travel money. Though on the face of it, you achieved only ONE of your goals, it triggered other desires which then assumed greater priority. So you actually achieved more than you thought.

Making personal or career resolutions are thus very important. They provide the opportunity to review your life in the past year, review where you are going, review what you are lacking and put simple steps into place, for fulfilment within a given time frame. And that is no bad thing. Self-knowledge is the greatest route to power and self-confidence. It is all about personal development and purpose in your life. Nothing helps that process more than simple resolutions at crucial points in your life.

A very Prosperous and Successful New Year to everyone reading this, and best wishes for the fulfilment of your dreams in 2007!

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