As 2016 clicks in to place across the globe, so does the multi-billion dollar 'resolution' franchise. Less weight, more exercise, fewer cigarettes, better job...they'll all feature heavily as self-esteem and personal satisfaction rule the first few weeks of January. But, as February follows, those positive intentions go the same-way as the Christmas decorations - boxed and compartmentalised for another year until an alcohol fuelled Auld Lang Syne provides a not-so-subtle cue for them to be resurrected for another fortnight.
Honestly, I've never quite understood the concept of a New Year's Resolution - as if the turn of a year can provide a single focal point for the betterment of a person's life? I concede, it's a convenient and obvious chronological punctuation but I don't really know how or why this prescribed moment for change has become so pronounced? If ever I had to decide upon the single most ridiculously over-pressurised point in the year to reveal my life-changing plans it would be the 1st January. Nothing good can possibly come from a profound personal decision made amid a moment of mass-hysteria that evolved from a mysterious age old ideal.
Apparently, the basis for our interpretation of the 'New Year Resolution' comes from the Babylonians who made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Then followed the Romans who began each year by making promises to the god Janus, after-whom January is named. Fast forward a couple of millennia and humans have made it all about themselves, creating a socially acceptable moment in time to post on Facebook a new gym membership, the voucher for Weight Watchers or a pile of Nicorette patches. 'So this is happening!' Urgh!
And better still are the businesses who trawl the bottom of the advertising barrel to drag out the awful 'New Year, New You' tagline in an attempt to remind us that THIS is the year to stop looking like something that's dropped out of the the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
The Babylonians would be proud.
Really, personal change is exactly that - intensely personal. And when the time is right to make an alteration to one's life, the force behind it will be so strong, positive and genuine that there won't be a need for a prearranged day or attention-grabbing declarations on social media. It will just happen, usually with the minimum of fuss and at the perfect time. And because the process will be organic and devoid of any collective arm-twisting, the likelihood of success will be exponentially higher.
New Year is a perfect time for a bit of reflection; after all, it's a time when we quite naturally reset out psychological clocks. But it's certainly not a time to be man-handled in to making big and bold decisions about how we should look or the way we should feel. They need to happen when, and if, a person is truly ready and away from all the noise, pomp and ceremony. And while that might actually be on 1st January the likelihood is that a genuine desire (or even the desire for the desire) to change get's muddled, misinterpreted and mishandled and put in to effect way before that person is genuinely and passionately invested in the idea. And that really never works out.
So, however you think you look and however you feel, don't feel you have to do anything just yet. Hang on and let this moment pass. The chances are, you're pretty perfect. But if you do need to make a tweak, then do it when you're absolutely ready and committed to the notion. And don't shout about it...proceed with quiet dignity. There are no guarantees but it's surely better than setting up a three figure direct debit to the local gym after you've woken up naked in the bath wearing bits of vol-au-vent in your hair.
Just one quick personal thing...can we all be a bit kinder to each other and animals in 2016? That would be just great!