I have maintained that I am not a big fan of the word ‘resolution’. I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I believe that there is a kind of set-in-stone feel to the word. I believe in fluidity and flexibility and growth and this cannot come from being rigid about something.
In this two-part blog series, I want to tell you why I don’t make new year’s resolutions and in the second part, I will tell you what I do instead.
Resolutions are about Perfection
The Golden Ratio is the mathematical ratio of 1.618:1. This appears to be the ratio in most aesthetically pleasing things in nature. The operative word being ‘ratio’, a relationship. Not an absolute. From Da Vinci’s painting to hurricanes and flower petals, there is a symmetry that can be found.
Are you telling me that even though it’s changing every second, the sky is always a perfect sky?Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
Perfection, as Mr. Bach has told us, is limitless. The only way to be perfect is by being the best you can be at that moment. It is subjective and dynamic. So, how are we to improve, you ask, if there is no goal to achieve?
Improvement is about being better than our yesterday’s self. The goal should not be to have a perfect body this year, for example. It should be about being healthier and stronger. Focus on the comparative rather than the superlative.
Resolutions don’t leave breathing space
A bad plan is better than no plan, and the most important quality of any plan is the flexibility to change.Judson L Moore, Exponential Happiness: How to identify and pursue life goals starting at a young age
If your new year’s resolution reads “I will exercise EVERY DAY”, then chances are, you haven’t gone for your dream run on January 2. What happens next? Your mind is either telling you what a horribly indisciplined person you are; or your mind is telling you that its okay to fail and that you can start the next day.
Either way, you have entered into a vicious cycle of deprecating mental dialogue and have missed working out for the first 3 days of the new year. Sound familiar?
Stop and think. Is your new year’s resolution practicable? Is your new year’s resolution an ego-driven idealistic vision of yourself that only exists (falsely) in your head? Then it’s time to start being honest with yourself. Nobody deserves the truth more than you.
Resolutions are too long-term
A man is worked upon by what he works on. He may carve out his circumstances, but his circumstances will carve him out as well.Frederick Douglass
The third trap of new year’s resolutions that we fall into is that it is something we are supposed to do for an entire year! We have all heard the oft-repeated saying, “those you fail to plan, plan to fail”. There is much debate about who came up with this adage, but that apart, here’s what I think about the maxim.
I am at a stage in life when I have a preliminary plan in mind but I keep a lot of space to manoeuvre. I don’t believe I am even close to a balance but I have also accepted that I am always going to be Work In Progress. I do not possess powers of clairvoyance and hence, planning for a year in advance is something I find to be too unrealistic.
So, in a nutshell, new year’s resolutions are not my cup of tea. I believe in something more tangible, instead. Read my next post to know what I do to bring some semblance of an orderly corner in the chaotic microcosm of my life.