By Alice Johnsen.
Why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Ever.
New Year’s Eve is a funny one. By the time we get to 31 December, we’re in the party frame of mind because, for most of us, we’ve had a week of a different routine and we’re really not thinking of work very much.
Of course, not everyone gets to take a week off, and this year in particular I want to add my thanks to all the armed forces and emergency services who are looking after us all. You will have had your plans disrupted and will have had to do a lot more than go the extra mile. Thank you.
On New Year’s Eve, we acknowledge the end of an old year and the start of the new, and few can avoid the feeling of a clean sweep. A new start. A sharpened pencil, ready to go without all the challenges and disappointments of the previous attempt holding us back.
And yes, that is liberating and really rather nice. But it can lead to a false hope, an expectation that is unrealistic and unnecessary.
Of course, it can be fun to declare we are taking up or giving up something for new year. We are far more likely to succeed if the challenge we set ourselves is small. Have a meat-free Monday rather than go vegan overnight. (That’s just an example, I’m not flagging up support for either step).
But were we really doing so badly last year? Goodness knows, 2022 threw challenges at us all and 2023 is pretty much guaranteed to do the same. With the exception of a few international politicians and one or two other exceptions – you fill in the gaps how you want – I would say we did our best.
Back to resolutions. Why don’t I make them? Because I don’t see the value of sweeping, big changes and if something needs a small change or tweak, better to do it at the time the need arises rather than waiting for January 1.
But here’s an idea to replace the traditional New Year’s resolutions. Why don’t we use that day to resolve to call someone a bit more? Either an elderly or lonely friend or relative, or just someone we’ve slightly lost touch with.
In this fast moving and often inward looking world, I think that could be a small but significant change with far reaching, good effect.
Alice Johnsen is a life coach based near Sherborne. Phone 07961 080513; visit alicejohnsen.co.uk