Let’s talk resolutions, shall we?

By on January 8, 2018

At the start of every Gregorian Calendar year, the world generally agrees to begin counting from the 1st of January onwards. There is substantial enthusiasm, near euphoria, a bit of madness and a whole load of promise from the 1st of January. We are now a few days into this lovely first month of 2018 and from the look of things, there is a general feeling of renewed optimism and hope sweeping through the world. Everybody is hoping for a wonderful year – even the wrongdoers. There is the hope that things will improve and get better from what they were last year.

Of course certain things have remained constant for instance, the Australians always get into the New Year before the rest of us, African Presidents are still megalomaniacs and Donald Trump still tweets to get attention. Other than that, many people are hoping for positive changes this year.

As a school going youngster in the 90s, my excitement for the New Year was always centered around being a year older and going to the next class in school. It was almost as if 1st January was my official entry to the next stage of my life. As an older and more experienced individual, I now know that crossing over from one year to another only brings me closer to my death but also gives me an opportunity to right whatever wrongs might be weighing me down from the previous year. Naturally, I fail at many of these resolutions but at least I tell myself that I will try again next year.

Globally, the concept of New Year Resolutions is one that continues to suffer abuse and misuse. Many people enter the New Year with talk of ‘New Me’ and ‘New Life’ and ‘New Hopes’ but they often end up reliving their old pathetic and often nasty ways. The concept of these resolutions is usually to task oneself to attain or achieve certain goals or abandon some undesirable traits or characters in the New Year. And most times people are keen on having a lengthy list of these resolutions with the hope that they will tick them off one by one till they are all done. Generally, the paper on which these resolutions are penciled in will disappear between the 2nd and the 8th of January and the resolutions will simply fade into thin air the moment one sobers up after the drunkenness of the New Year celebrations.

Historically, the tradition of New Year resolutions is quite vague but seems to have its roots in Babylonian history with the Babylonians making promises to their gods and returning whatever they had borrowed the previous year. It is fairly likely that back then, these resolutions were adhered to with a bit more seriousness because the fear of being struck by lightning for not fulfilling one’s promises to the gods was encouragement enough. Among the Romans, the worship of the god Janus (After whom the month of January is named) involved making promises around this time of the year. During the medieval era, the Knights also had their little Peacock Vow ceremony where they reaffirmed their chivalry as did many other belief systems along the way.

Today, people are more likely to indulge in personal goals and individual resolutions as compared to the communal or spiritual ones. But that is okay, we are more selfish than ever before.

As a person who has been a part of this New Year façade for well over three decades, it has turned out to be the perfect excuse to either abandon certain worthless friends, relationships and vices, or simply tell the world that you are now pledging to be less of an asshole – and then resuming these same practices as soon as the sun sets on January.

The problem with this façade is when you open your mouth to make these ridiculous announcements to the world, you need to be sure that you will see them through. Short of that, keep your mouth shut, quietly write down your resolutions and share them with you, yourself and no one but you. We don’t all need to know them.

The fact is, there is really no harm in having New Year Resolutions. The only problem is if you are brave enough to have them and even braver to share them resolutions with the world, try as much as possible to be accountable to the world too. If you tell us what you plan to do this year, please give us an update at the end of the year as well. Tell us how crappy, unfocused and completely irresponsible you have been with your resolutions. And if you are smart enough to keep your resolutions to yourself, there is no harm in doing a quiet happy dance when you eventually manage to attain them.

This entire month of January, folks will be scribbling down some New Year Resolutions with the hope that over the next twelve months, they will be working towards these resolutions. Cool stuff. Just make sure that you have someone you are accountable to. And no – do not shove your resolutions down people’s throats. Talk to someone and ask them to be custodian of your resolutions so that as the year progresses, you can take stock of how you are progressing. There is no harm in sharing them with a parent, a sibling, a close friend, a partner or a colleague at work. The point here is not to boast about how big your dreams are but simply to have someone you are accountable to and to keep track of your progress as a person.

When you are younger, these resolutions may not mean too much because, well, there are older people to bear these responsibilities for you. But when you grow older, you start to look back at your life’s wins and losses and sometimes you fail to keep track of whether you are advancing, regressing or simply stagnant. These resolutions can help you figure out where you lie.

One last thing about resolutions is that there is absolutely no harm in spending the whole month of January just trying to figure out what your resolutions should be. No one should pressure you into writing down your resolutions in record time, with a gun to your head. You may as well promise them a new Ugandan President in 2021, snow in Kampala and a place for Cranes at the 2018 World Cup because none of them is possible. Take your time and make sure they are SMART.

Happy New Year to you all and Good luck with your New Year Resolutions.

“Just because the dates change, does not mean you have to change. The continuous path towards self-improvement is a timeless process.” ― Brittany Burgunder

a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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