"Have you made one?" I am asked. "I have not!" I reply. Expressions of surprise follow, with the inevitable question, "Why not?" Let me explain: many years ago I made a New Year Resolution. It was this, "Not to make any more New Year Resolutions as they never last." Experience had shown that, over the preceding years, every resolution I had made had fallen by the wayside within a short time. So what, I had asked myself, is the point of making one if I cannot or will not keep it?
How much better would it be to decide how I want to live my life, and to apply that every day from the day I decide it, rather than waiting for the first day of a new year to attempt to keep to something I feel I ought but do not really want to do... examples which come to mind are taking up a sport, being more energetic, being helpful to others, going on a diet, and so forth.
Instead of creating an artificial resolution I decided to get involved in things which would produce those end results. Being helpful to others: I became a volunteer with a charity and have, over the years, helped in various capacities with various charities - indeed I still do. Rather than take up a sport, which I have always found to be a somewhat boring activity, I walked as much as I could. Living in a rural area and not being a car driver, walking became second nature, enjoying long rambles with my son and the dogs along footpaths or the canal towpath. Sometimes taking a picnic bag along, sometimes to gather leaves or pine cones for craft activities, sometimes to take photographs, but always for the enjoyment of the simple exercise and companionship.
I suspect that many of us use the New Year Resolution as a prop, a way of trying to kick-start a life-change. We fear that without the incentive of the Resolution we will not be able to make such changes or to keep to them. In some cases it works: one lady whom I know made a Resolution last New Year, to take up running to improve her fitness. She is still running a year on, and I am sure the activity has given her much pleasure, but so many New Year Resolutions do not last until the end of January, no doubt for a whole host of reasons.