Have you made any New Year resolutions?
The top ten resolutions are spending more time with friends and family, getting fit, taming the bulge, quitting smoking, enjoying life more, drinking less, getting out of debt, learning something new, helping others and getting more organized. The failure rate of such worthy intentions is said to be about 80%. Even those who take on smaller and more manageable targets are said to have a success rate of only around 35%. Nevertheless it is understandable that we want to use the turn of the year as a time to try and take stock of our lives. Some advise that there are ways of improving your chances. One of these is to set very specific goals – not just “losing weight” for example but setting a very specific target. It also apparantly makes sense not to keep your goals to yourself but to share them with others. This gives an added chance of possible success. However perhaps the best possible advice is that of the man who said that “many years ago I resolved never to bother with New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve stuck with it ever since!”
In Italy it is the custom at midnight on New Years Eve to throw an unwanted object out of the window and on to the street – not a good time to be walking or driving your car around!
People believe that by throwing old things out they will also banish and forget the bad luck, unhappiness and grim days and, leaving them behind, create a space for new things and good fortune in the year that is coming. Somehow all this suggests that we are not happy with our lives, with ourselves, with our directions.
It seems to point to the unhappiness of the human condition. One psycholgist talked about us living our lives in a state of “permanent desperation”.
2012 is likely to hold many surprises, although perhaps not the end of the world which some say is predicted by Mayan prophecy for this coming December. No doubt, however. there will be ongoing earth shaking events, economic crisis amongst them. Perhaps however New Year should be a time rather of looking at what is good in our lives and communities. Surely there remains much to celebrate and much to which we can look forward. Perhaps Hal Borland was right when he simply said “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us”. Perhaps that is the best we can hope for.
Happy New Year!