New Year’s Eve Resolutions

1 Jan

It is that time of year again.  The day when we set aside the old and embrace the new.  For some reason, the changing of the date signifies to human hearts the sign of new beginnings, a renewed belief that what seemed impossible yesterday may be attainable tomorrow.  Unfortunately, like so many others, I always find myself abandoning these resolutions all to quickly as the year goes by.  In fact, this occurs so often, that I have discovered that I almost expect it to happen.  Just a few days ago, a friend told me that she no longer makes New Year’s resolutions because she always feels guilty for abandoning them later.  She sees it as setting herself up for failure.

I thought about her comment and considered my own lackadaisical approach to the whole issue.  I realized that, somehow, I have adopted a similar decision.  I failed so many times that I quit trying to stick to my goals.  Last year, I broke some of them the first day out.  So on the one hand, my friend had a point.  It is difficult to stick to your decisions and to force yourself to carry on in the face of likely failure.

But after further consideration of the issue, I concluded that it is a far worse crime against myself to quit hoping and wishing and dreaming, than to realize later that I didn’t quite reach my goal.  If I do not hope for change, if I start out with the determination that I will accomplish none of my dreams, then I will not risk that guilty realization that I let myself down.  Guaranteed.  But, then again, neither will I chance the realization that I actually managed to accomplish what I set out to do.  If I instead continue hoping and dreaming and making plans for the future, I leave my options open.

In the end, I would rather chance success than guarantee failure.

Before I can succeed in other New Year’s resolutions, I must have to courage to make one the first place.   So here is my goal:

I am going to make a new years resolution and I am going to actually believe that I will succeed at it.

There are no presumptions of failure; no putting it off until tomorrow.  Starting here and now, I believe that I will make it through a whole year.  What is this resolution that I will be making?–That on December 31, 2013, I will look back and say I dreamed.  I want to assume that life will be amazing, and life will go the way I plan or that unfulfilled hopes are being replaced by even better ones. I want to be brave.  I want to have adventures and to take steps I would never have made before.   I want to live this next year with the self-assurance that comes from knowing I have done my best to satisfy the needs of my heart and the hopes of those around me.  I want to live without fear of failure, of let-downs, or disappointments.  I want to be like the man in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If.”

In the end, I simply propose a toast: To new beginnings, to long-forgotten dreams, to courage, and most of all to cherishing the unplanned, unwanted, and yet marvelous memories we will create in the future.  May we embrace it all with an open heart and a positive spirit.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk to wise;
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master;
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose and star against at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your hear and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours  is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

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