Giving up chocolate failed to work again. Neither did being nicer to my little brother, but I'm not surprised about that one. But what is it about New Year's resolutions that makes them so hard to keep? And should 2014's resolution be to stop wasting my time making them?
In my opinion, we are becoming disillusioned with resolutions. It is becoming more about showing off something you can already do than challenging yourself to do something new. Maybe next year I should give up sprouts - at least it would be the first resolution I could actually keep!
On Valentine's Day this year, the film About Time will become available on DVD. A fantastic, heart-warming romantic comedy, the film tells the story of Tim, who finds he has the ability to time-travel, and uses this power to win over the beautiful Mary. By the end of the film however, he has realised that rewriting the past has consequences. The following quote, from the end of the film, is one that I have thought back to many times:
"Tim: The truth is, I now don't travel back at all. Not even for the day. I just try to live every day as if I've deliberately come back to this one day to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life."
There's a lot we can learn from Tim's resolution. None of us know which day will be our last, and I for one know that I want to fully live my last day. So why waste time? If today was to be my last day, would I have made the most of it? Would my family and friends remember me the way I want them to, or would the legacy I left be an undesirable one?
This year, I want to start living every day as if it is my last. It sounds morbid, but it has already made a real difference to my life. I still have bad days, and I still fight with my brother, but I try my best to start each day by reminding myself how lucky I am to be alive, and be as productive as I can throughout the day. Instead of promising to do things, I just do them: why wait? Today could be my last opportunity.
This new outlook on life is no doubt influenced by a shaky 2013; for me, last year included both new, exciting opportunities such as the start of university, and worry and loss, with the death of a close family member and the sudden illness of another. It was the first time I had truly understood that life is short, and instead of letting this scare me, or just ignoring it, I decided to do something about it. I decided to start living: now.
However, how long will this last? Of the three resolutions I have made, probably, and hopefully, forever. A resolution like mine is, I would argue, more of a life choice than a whimsical promise to myself. Giving up chocolate and being nicer to my brother were resolutions made for no other reason than the fact it was New Year's Eve. That is why they won't last - because I have no real desire to stick to either of them. My resolution to start living my life differently is a choice I made for a reason, and I did not need any excuse, like the fact that it was the start of a new year, to start it.
Maybe it's about time I resolved to stop spending New Year's Eve frantically thinking of a resolution to make. If I want to make a change in my life, I should just make it, without needing to wait for midnight. My friends too have stopped trying to make serious New Year's resolutions. I leave you with a text from my friend that reveals exactly that. He is using 2014 to "properly focus on buying the orange properties in monopoly".
Happy New Year!