Throughout the decades I’ve been asked so many times: “What’s your New Year’s resolution?”. Every time, I’ve said the same thing, or approximately so: “I don’t make any”. I know I’m not alone in that. The reasons are probably various amongst those who reject the practice, but one probably stands highest. Why make a resolution? You either pick that which you know you can achieve, or you pick something that you just know you’ll fail to keep up. Why set yourself up for failure? If you’re not doing that, then the chances are that you really don’t need the spur as you would have succeeded in your ambition anyway.
I could so easily make a resolution to concentrate more on writing, or organising my activities better. Those ideals, however, would prove far more difficult, in reality, than, say, resolving to give up smoking! The simple fact is that I’m like a ship sailing dangerous waters in a storm! I can aim to do something, and can make every effort to succeed, but Life has a say in all things. A plan to, say, write a short story in a week might well be negated completely by a renewed bout of ill health. In truth, not doing something is far easier to achieve – such as giving something up, however laudable that act might seem in itself.
Resolutions need to be realistic. Unfortunately, none of us know what we’re truly capable of until we endeavour. Even then, it’s very easy to reach a point at which we say that we’ve tried our best but not quite succeeded, simply because it’s convenient, or easier, to do so. From what I’ve observed, those who make New Year’s resolutions set themselves up for either embarrassment (by announcing to any who ask what that resolution is) or much sought after congratulations (if successful). How many would bother if there was no announcement of intent? Is it, in fact, a kind of gambling? We back ourselves to achieve something and expect a good return in plaudits if we succeed, but knowing that we may have to suffer some mockery (however gentle) if we fail.
I’ll fall back on one response I gave in the past: “I’ve resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions”.