I was quite small when I first learned of the New Year’s tradition of making resolutions, or setting goals for oneself for the upcoming year. The idea intrigued me. Just think, by choosing the right goals, and sticking to them, in one year I could be a better person!
While memory fails me, most likely my early resolutions had to do with keeping my mouth shut and staying out of trouble. I was not a bad kid, but I had a tendency to speak up and defend myself when falsely accused, and in my mind, I was frequently targeted by siblings and parents for things I had not done.
Unfortunately my determination to improve was weak and so my goals seldom survived more than a few hours.
I remember one particularly rocky period in my life when I was fourteen. I shared a room with my younger sister, who was a bit of a slob. I got angry when my parents informed me that it was my responsibility to keep her side of the room clean. I spouted off and got punished. When New Year’s rolled around, I was still smoldering, so I promised myself that I would sit in my room and keep quiet.
It didn’t work because instead of calming me down, my insides churned with barely suppressed rage. I told myself, over and over, to keep my mouth shut, but the words inflamed my feelings of being unjustly singled out to the point that when next lectured, I exploded and suffered the consequences.
I tried setting other goals for myself over the years. For example, to lose weight. This was during my late teen years and I was tired of being the fattest girl on campus. I chose carefully what I ate, walked as much as possible, but stayed the same. I quickly gave up, considering myself a failure yet again.
I learned, after repeated failure, that I was incapable of sticking to a resolution and so gave up setting any goals for myself. It was a self-fulling prophecy which I allowed to dictate my life for decades.
To this day I do not choose resolutions, even though there are many that would be good for me to master. I accept the fact that I am weak-willed, so rather than dooming myself to repeated failure, I avoid the tradition altogether.
Resolutions are just not for me.
Hardly weak-willed! One of the strongest people I know. This is the problem with the so-called “resolutions;” they lure people into unrealistic expectations of themselves.