As I pack away ornaments and attempt to salvage tissue paper for next Christmas' wrapping, a heaviness comes over me. If Christmas is over, that leaves only January looming large with expectations and new beginnings.
Recently, a dogged reporter quizzed New England Patriot's coach Bill Belichick regarding his New Year's Resolutions as part of his press conference. This ill-timed question was posed after a stinging loss and was met with the equivalent of a glare and a grunt. Undeterred, this same reporter was crazy enough to ask again a few days later. In response, Belichick mumbled something about resolutions being personal and to the relief of the world at large, the awkward topic was dropped.
This public inquisition highlights the ridiculous practice of announcing resolutions every January 1st. Now, I realize that in some cases a grand proclamation aids in accountability, which I am all for. But what if, like me, you have zero desire to share resolutions with others?
The concept of New Year's resolutions began centuries ago with a promise between an individual and God. A private vow made in the hopes that good fortune and blessings would follow if compliant. Somewhere along the way, the idea of resolutions became a public free-for-all.
What if you are truly just resolved to get through each day and eke out a little gratitude as your head hits the pillow? I see surviving as a public endeavor but thriving as an individual pursuit.
Resolutions are a shifting, changing concept. If in January, I vow to write more every day and carve out time for my interests, am I a failure if my kids are sent home for the semester, thwarting my efforts to the point where writing consists of mostly grocery lists and chore reminders?
No. Yet, without a crystal ball, we are setting ourselves up for failure each January.
While ushering in a new year presents an opportunity to pause and reflect, we should feel no pressure to make wholesale changes. If we are not reflecting on improvement and goals every day, we are missing the chance for true betterment.
I try to impart this concept to my children as well. They are still young adults, so likely not fielding questions about New Year’s resolutions just yet. But when that day comes, I want them to remember that each day presents opportunities for growing and improvement. The notion that we owe ourselves—or anyone else-- more than that, one day of the year is folly.
So, I resolve not to ask you about your personal goals for any given year but will support you unconditionally If you are inclined to share them. For me, all the world needs to know is that I am a work in progress all 365 days of the calendar with no day carrying more significance than any other.