Great Expectations: The Truth about making New Year resolution
Statistically speaking, New Year resolutions rarely come to realization as most of them fail before January ends. Knowing which reasons lie behind failure may certainly help us gain advantage over others who would also like to thread the path of success. First of all, we must have in mind that statistics do not mean anything for a particular person – they might be right and correct and precise, but that is just if you speak generally. For each individual, there is a different path which leads to achieving happiness. Statistics are just plain numbers while we are living beings, each one of us carrying our own tendencies, our own will, our strength within. It was always like that, and you better make peace that it will always be that individuals change the face of the earth while masses follow. Those may be exquisite individuals, more or less, but neither of them was born that way – neither Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Leonardo Da Vinci, Einstein, Shakespeare weren’t born great, it is rather something they have made out of themselves, nothing was given to them as there was nobody better than them in their field to “clear the way”.
With that in mind, you may use their examples as beacons to light up your path, even in making New Year resolution.
But, you must also remember to be realistic about your expectations. In a world of thoughts, fantasies and daydreams about success everything seems possible, yet when it comes to action, those great expectations fail. You promise, you make an unbreakable pact with yourself that, starting tomorrow or after New Year’s Eve, you will start getting up earlier, stop smoking and drinking, be more active and “be a better man”, but when tomorrow comes, you find yourself sleeping ‘till noon again, making promises over and over again, but somehow find yourself breaking them – as if you are not the same person this evening and tomorrow morning.
Be realistic about your resolutions, ask if it is possible to achieve that particular goal during the next year. Is it possible to quit smoking? Yes. But is it possible for you? Depends. Then ask how possible it is and what needs to be done from your side to succeed. You want to find a stable, well-paid job during the recession? Good luck with that, but that really sounds unrealistic, and you should probably pursue some other kind of work, maybe over the Internet. There are some things which we cannot have a full grasp of. Is it possible to become a kung fu master during the next year? It certainly is not, no matter how you try. Instead of proclaiming that you want to become a master of the art of kung fu (or any other art), try deciding for yourself that you only want to step on the path for achieving that. Observe the whole thing as a process, as a path which never ends, as it really is like that: it never happens that you faint after celebration and tomorrow you wake up as a better man. Making a New Year resolution is not like fainting, or logging off from one situation while immediately entering another which is completely different, no, it is more like choosing paths – if you choose one path, stick to it and do not go astray. One great 20th century philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, had a name for that specific frame of mind – he called it “engagement” or “commitment” – which means giving your whole body and soul to an idea, even though an idea could not be achieved, you should make your efforts towards achieving it: not because you will triumph eventually, but because you have made the decision for which you think is right, and you should stick to it! Successful authors of self-help books like Eckhart Tolle and Michael Brown have found Sartre’s ideas and words very inspiring and valuable.
Never forget that much work will be needed to achieve success, and the quantity of work is measured by the greatness of the challenge you are stepping into. Another contemporary philosopher, Eugen Fink defined “work” as one of five basic phenomena of human existence. By work, he means something like “friction caused by men’s actions towards things”. As we have said earlier, in a world of daydreams and even motivational talks, everything is possible and you feel like you are omnipotent, but as soon as you step in the “real world”, the world of things, which consists of matter also, and not only of thoughts, you notice that things ain’t so easy to manipulate as it is to talk about them. So, prepare for friction, which you will be experiencing every day, but it is better to do so and make something out of yourself, then to plunge into the sea of lies telling you that “you can achieve everything the easy way” and achieve nothing, while blaming everybody else for your failure.
Consistency is equally important as determination and work. Achieving regularity is a great thing. You will have to remind yourself each day why are you trying to accomplish something and how important it is to you. Do not look upon the New Year as it makes you older a year; instead, try to remember what did you do to make yourself wiser during the last year. You might find out that you really did “become a better person”, but not because you intended to become that person, but rather because you have coped with troubles during the last year the best way possible.
However, there are a few obstacles on your road to success. It is better to know them, and that knowledge will help you identify them and wipe them out:
· Fear. It is usually fear of the unknown, or fear of success. Either way, it is a trick of the mind, because the mind wishes to have control over everything and not leave a thing unplanned, as is not in favor of uncertainty principle. Acclaim yourself as a being to which such fear has no effect, step bravely and proudly into the world.
· Comparison. Not everybody has the same goal, and not everybody achieves goals at the same rate. Keeping in mind that we are all unique will help you set your own goals, because trying to achieve somebody else’s goals or expectations will be twice as hard, or rather impossible.
At the end, try to remember this list of positive things which will help you with your New Year resolution:
· Statistics don’t matter, it is your own effort which matters, as we are all powerful individuals
· Be realistic about your goals, see where are you now and how much control you really can have over the situation
· Remember that achieving a goal is a process. It not just making decision to do something, but staying faithful to that decision.
· Keep in mind that you will eventually have to get your hands dirty, and experience some “friction”
· Achieving consistency is very important, but do not brag too much about it or become overly proud, because then it will fade away
· Remind yourself each day why do you want to achieve a certain goal
· Take a risk sometimes
· Do not be jealous and compare yourself to others. We are all unique and have different goals. Respecting that you will also respect yourself and your own wishes!
It is true that New Year is a miraculous event. It might not be special for itself, but for the magic we have imbued it with. Fireworks, colorful lights, Christmas tree, Santa delivering gifts and fulfilling wishes – these are all externalizations of our wishes for the inner miracle to happen. And it will happen, but not by itself - we have to make it happen! One wise man had said that the real and only miracle is not the one with lights flashing around, turning water into wine literally, no – the only miracle is to change the quality of your inner being, and suddenly you will find out that you have built a world of abundance for yourself, in which miracle is happening every day.
That miracle is you.