More and more I am coming to the realisation that I am sooo programmed. I have also realised that I am not alone.
I am one of those people who set new year’s resolutions, most years. It only occurred to me after being on this earth for 55 years to ask why, when the clock strikes 12 on 31 December, do we suddenly allow ourselves to be hopeful and optimistic again? For most of us, it is the only time in the year we give ourselves another chance to do better. The rest of the time, we are wallowing in self-judgement or on autopilot. We tell ourselves the new year is going to be better. We are going to work harder, love better, lose some weight, achieve more or whatever our new year’s resolutions may be.
What if, we change the way we look at life and view every yesterday as 31 December and every today is 1 January?
And so, we begin each day reflecting on how we lived yesterday and set a positive resolution for today, every day. Why wait weeks to realise we have gone off track or 200 days to give ourselves another chance?
I am of Chinese ethnicity, and I celebrate Chinese New Year. I recall one year I had set some new year’s resolutions (probably about dieting or something silly like that) and within a couple of weeks had fallen off the wagon. I felt terribly guilty and disappointed with myself. And then a thought came to mind… hang on, I am Chinese and Chinese New Year that year was in February. Suddenly, I felt relieved and optimistic again…. I could start all over again as I am Chinese, and my new year starts in February…Talk about mind tricks to help one feel better!
Some of us give up our resolutions altogether after a few weeks when our goals are not achieved.
The truth is if we are more present in what we do every day, it is less likely we will fall off the wagon of our resolutions. When we overlay mindfulness with self-compassion, even if we do fall off the wagon from time to time, the chances are we will jump back on quicker. The whole journey of achieving our goals and aspirations is made more pleasant if we don’t wallow in self-judgement and criticism.
So, whatever your new year’s resolutions may be, spend 5 to 10 minutes every day in quietude to reflect, take stock and start over, if need be. Be kind to yourself. Every day is an opportunity for a fresh start, not only on 1 January.