In Defence of New Year's Resolutions

As we approach the end of the old year we also approach a new year. When the celebrations draw to a close, our thoughts turn quite naturally to the New Year, what it will bring and how we will engage with what it brings. I hope you are not blasé about New Year’s resolutions! I love the sense of energy and possibility that come from them.

But it’s true that the spiritual Eeyores have something of a point. “What about last year’s resolutions?” they ask. “How far did you get with them?” But in the end their message is a glum and negative one. Ultimately they argue that New Years resolutions, and in fact all plans for change, are doomed because people and things don’t change. “You are stuck, so don’t be a fool by thinking that you and your world can change,”  they say. You don't want to be like that, do you?

Keep shooting for the moon

My New Year’s wish for you is “Don’t buy it!” Keep dreaming big. Make bold plans and act as if anything is possible. The English language is full of this enthusiasm and hope. “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” “It is better to have won and lost than to never have played the game.” Or if English is not an inspiring  source to you, turn to the hippy mantra: "Be reasonable, demand the impossible!"

What if you fail?

But OK, let’s humor the glum and talk about last year’s resolutions. It may well be true that you didn't realize last year’s resolutions. Now is a good time to review them and to return to any unfinished business. As Seneca says, "making noble resolutions is not as important as keeping the resolutions you have made already." So by all means return to the resolutions that were unattended to this year. But don’t let your inability to deal with these last year dampen your enthusiasm to do so in 2013. Rather channel that skepticism into plans to do a better job of it this year.

Your situation may even worse and you may not remember what you resolved to do in 2012. This year do yourself the favour of writing down your resolutions and making a note in your diary to review progress in December 2013. Better still, plan to review your progress more regularly during the year.

Above all, guard and cultivate your enthusiasm. Tilt at windmills!

What will happen at Next Small Step?

Your dear author will take a few weeks leave to think over 2013 and other things. One of these 'other things' a rapidly advancing book version of Next Small Step. Yes, that's right, by the end of March or so, you will be able to get your very own pocket Next Small Step! Watch this space.

Thanks for your continued support and messages over the last year. All the very best wishes to you for the New Year. Next Small Step will be back in the week of 7 January.

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