What better fit for the very first article of the first day of the first week of the first month of the new year... than to deal with New Year's resolutions?
I must confess, I'm a sucker for New Year's resolution, I just love the renewed enthusiasm it generates.
Many 'experts' claim that New Year's resolutions are useless and that most new project or habits that people starts this way often get nowhere.
I guess it must depend on the people then, because it seems to work pretty well for me. Many of my major accomplishments or major changes of direction in the past --the kind that took concerted efforts-- seem to have been facilitated and crystallized by some New Year's resolution. In fact the launching of this Website was one of my New Year resolution from the past.
However, I wouldn't say that the coming of a New Year is the only opportunity we have to ease major moves or projects in our lives.
Since we are creature of habits, any lofty idea or great project can easily be smothered by our daily routine and be put on the back burner. So anything that can break the humdrum is a golden opportunity to momentarily take things in our own hands and shift out of auto-pilot for awhile. It can be a new year, but it could as well be a move to a new country, a new house, a new job, a new relationship, and even a terrible event or a crisis (which we may then qualify as salutary), etc.
In fact I vividly remember when I was about 12 years old and successfully made the very first major change of direction in my life, and it was not the result of a new year's resolution.
As a child I was regularly involved in school ground fights. I lived in Africa at the time but when I was 11 years old, I was sent back to France for my studies. There the fist fights merrily continued and in fact intensified: "Go back to your jungle, you glass snake" seemed to particularly ire me. This is roughly translated but yes, I used to wear (very) thick glasses (and still do). Having been well trained by years of practice, I was usually quick to silent the daring imprudent and as a result, I was feared and 'respected' and... I didn't have one single friend!
When the next summer vacation came, I went back to Africa while most of my old acquaintances from Africa spend their own summer in France. Feeling terribly lonely with plenty of time to think, I made the most solemn vow to never ever have another physical fight in my life again, no matter what provocation would come my way.
The happy ending is that when I returned to France, I did keep that vow and I eventually made some great friends. Somehow, crossing the ocean and being transported in space to a different environment made it much easier for me to make the switch and become a different person.
A New Year is akin to being transported in time to a different environment. December is usually hectic with much running, crowded shopping and partying while January is usually very calm and quiet. In fact it is almost dead and suddenly we don't do much or meet too many people anymore. This is the perfect setting to start a new pet project or become a different person.
Sure, once the novelty of any situation wears off and we get familiar with new routines, we will usually shift back on auto-pilot. That is to be expected and it is not necessarily a bad thing especially if our new humdrum now incorporates some new habits acquired while implementing our new projects or resolutions.
Doing something new or different usually takes much effort, energy or even sacrifice, but only at the initial stage. Much like pushing a car with a discharged battery, the hardest part is to have it move from the ground. Once put in motion, things do get easier and usually end up running pretty much by themselves.
So if it takes a new year or a new whatever else to break old patterns and to spur us into launching some great new move or important project, what the heck? Let's take advantage of it!
I wish you all a happy new year and... the very best of success with your new projects!!