New Year’s Resolutions & Introspection

It was New Year’s Eve and Charlie Brown and Linus were leaning against a brick wall, talking about the past year.

“Well, here it is again,” Charlie Brown says to Linus. “It’s the last day of the year and I did it again.”

“Did what?” Linus asks.

“I just blew another year,” Charlie Brown replied.

I’m with Charlie Brown. I have always felt that way. Ok, well maybe not entirely but when I sit at the end of the year and look back, my accomplishments seem very few. I feel I have made no progress in my life. Even 2012 with one book published after 34 years and another up as an e-book and doing well, I still felt this way.

For my entire life I have hated New Year’s Eve. It all feels so artificial to me. People party, drink too much, and pretend to be having a great time. The clock changes at midnight and suddenly our lives are supposed to change with it, transformed somehow. I have always seen New Year’s Eve as an ending rather than a beginning.  This belief was further entrenched a year ago when, with little warning, my mother died on New Year’s Eve.

Maybe the fact I hated the day is one reason why I always had so much trouble making New Year’s resolutions. They also felt artificial. Suddenly I will start to lose weight, look for a better job, volunteer somewhere, or take a dream vacation. We don’t need January 1st to do any of those things but somehow our “resolve” is supposed to be different then!

But I think I was wrong about resolutions. They are important but not for the reasons most people think. I think it is the act of preparing to make them that is much more valuable than the actual completion of them.

Resolutions are not about looking back or looking forward but looking within.

In sitting down and taking time to think about things we would like to change or to do in the coming year, it forces us to look closely at our lives and examine if we are moving in a direction that is bringing us contentment or a sense of purpose. True resolutions are hard to make without some introspection, and this is always a good thing. We cannot know if they will be completed, so resolutions are not strictly speaking about the future. And they are not about the past although it may be the catalyst. Resolutions are about looking inward at where we are, deciding what steps we can make now.

If we want to change, New Years is as good a day as any, artificial though it may be. And change is good even though I usually fight it tooth and nail! If you want your future life to be different you have to change and resolutions can be one step in doing that. We cannot continue to live exactly as we always have but expect things to be different. This is just not possible.

So what are my New Year’s resolutions? To return to Charlie Brown (I once cut out and used Charlie Brown comics in a psychology report in University – I got a B+!), he and Peppermint Patty are talking about New Year’s resolutions.

Asked if he had made any, Charlie Brown replied “Yes. You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time I’m going to dread one day at a time.”

I never pretended to be completely sane!!!

Seriously, I am going to do whatever I can to improve my health on every level – physical, emotional, spiritual.

Whatever your plans are for 2013 I hope they come to fruition.

Happy New Year everyone.


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