Well, here we are. Another new year. Last year I was unemployed, without a significant other to be with on New Years, and unpublished as a writer. This year…well, to quote Herman’s Hermits, “Second verse same as the first.” Or in this case, “Second year same as the first.” I don’t even know if I bothered making resolutions last go around. I think I’ve learned by this point that there is no magical transition that occurs on midnight of January 1st that will suddenly make me have the discipline, will, and resolve to do the things I so naïvely hope to accomplish when the year is approaching. The only resolution I could possibly make that I stand any chance of keeping is “Break all of my other resolutions.” However, it’s not really a resolution if you’ve already mastered it.
So what? The Can’t Keep a Resolution Club is a vast one indeed. I’m not upset that I can’t keep resolutions. I’m upset that I keep falling for the silly notion that the arbitrary division between years that serves mainly agricultural purposes would have any sort of impact on me. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t have anyone to kiss or propose to at the stroke of midnight, and I’m not at all enthused by fireworks. New Years has little attraction for me. So why have I had the tendency to fall into that trap of making resolutions? I can’t even keep a resolution to stop making resolutions.
I’ve made the traditional resolutions before: get in shape, finish school, stop smoking, stop robbing liquor stores at gunpoint. Okay, the last two have never been resolutions of mine – I’ve never smoked and I don’t own a gun. I’ve even made resolutions where I tried to stack the deck in my favor: “Finish a few video games,” for instance. I figured the momentum from an accomplished resolution might springboard me into meaningful life changes. Hah!
The most realistic resolutions have been about writing. Finish a project, submit something for publishing – it all seems doable. And it is. But no matter what the resolutions are, they don’t change the fact that the dreamy-eyed idiot feeling excited about the New Year after watching some sparkly ball drop is the same idiot who was such a loser a few minutes earlier that he had to make those broad resolutions in the first place. Did the Earth’s latest swing around the Sun suddenly knock some sense into my thick head? I highly doubt it.
No, what I need to resolve to do is come to grips with the realization that change – realistic change – is a slow process. People can change, but not in an instant, and certainly not cleanly or easily. What I need to resolve to do is stop giving up at the first failure, to stop saying, “To Hell with it!” whenever my resolve is tested. What I need is to stop relying on astrology and ancient calendars to determine my destiny. The only way change comes into my life is to push myself harder in those areas that dissatisfy me. I sit here at the end of each year wondering where my good intentions went. Well, they fled with the giddiness that accompanied the New Year, feelings that thrived for that brief instant before I realized the arm of a clock had clicked upward and a glittery ball had succumbed to gravity and nothing had changed.
So pish to resolutions! Bah humbug to dreams of change! There will be no resolutions for me. I am who I am, and I either have to live with that or find that thing deep inside me that will push past the old habits and start to form new ones. I know what I need to do. No fireworks or confetti or verses of Auld Lang Syne can lull me into a false sense of hope. I have to understand that this is serious. I can and should set goals, but I need to stop relying on the whirling of planets to give me the drive to accomplish them. Nothing out there in the cosmos will give me one sliver of resolve to accomplish the goals I have set for myself. What I have to do is man up, take responsibility, and stop falling for the usual excuses for failure. What I need to do is claw and scratch my way forward until the little successes build to big habit changes. After all, I’ve gone from rarely typing a word into my computer to maintaining a semi-regular blog, all with nary a resolution in sight. Maybe I can get this done without the help of that spinning ball I’m standing on.