So here we are. It is the New Year – and not a sparkly new resolution in site in this household. I find myself entirely in line with Megan Markle in abandoning this tradition.
Sitting down on New Year’s Eve with a lot of optimism, booze and imagination is not ever going to be the most sensible approach to achieving goals.
There we are, over-stuffed from Christmas food, much of which we haven’t even enjoyed. Yesterday, for example, when tidying out the Christmas remnants, I polished off the remnants of a slab of Christmas cake claiming to be laced with port and brandy. I very much doubt if had ever seen either but instead gave off a dubious aroma of old socks.
But we keep going on these things, till we arrive at New Year’s eve, with extended bellies and slight nausea. We may have fuggy heads from continued booze or be coughing ourselves silly from having smoked more in a week than the rest of the year put together. Depriving ourselves of the causes of our malaises feels highly attractive. Healthy living has never sounded so good. But of course as the days pass and we start to feel better, we also start to want the goodies again, the chips, the curries, the packet or 20, the glass of wine.
The other goal we are now apparently obsessed by is having more “me” time. Again, this one is easy to set when we have comparative peace and quiet over the Festive Season and especially when we have despatched The-In-Laws back to the other side of the country with our annual huge sighs of relief. We sit and fondly imagine how our children, our bosses and our partners are going to be magically more accommodating in the year to come, allowing us to drift around in a cloud of aromatherapy oil.
Small wonder that 88% of resolutions fail, 80% fail within three months. New Year’s resolutions are very far removed from a sensible plan for your life or business, or ideally, for both, as one always impacts on the other. They are based on wild misconceptions and imagination.
Having a sense of where we are going in life is actually hugely beneficial and something we all need. That is a whole different matter. If we don’t set ourselves plans and goals, we simply drift. And while drifting can be beneficial occasionally in the short term, it is clearly not the way to achieve what you want in your life. To reach our goals, we need strategies, albeit simple ones that allow for adaption along the way. Not, incidentally, some musty old business plan that we drew up in a fit of well-intended duty a few years ago and never sees the light of day from the bottom desk drawer.
I have exciting visions for my year ahead. I have broken the road to them down into bite size steps towards achieving them. But I absolutely did not set any New Year’s resolutions.
The only argument I have ever read in their favour, is that purportedly Megan Markle used to include one little wish in her previous years, and that was to make space for a little bit more magic.
On reflection, that seems to have worked pretty well for her, so perhaps we should all allow ourselves just that one little wish.