by Tracy Crawford
Note: This post originally appeared on Weight of Gravity and has been cross-posted with permission.
New Year’s Eve is shroud in traditions and rituals. From the Countdown and ball drop in Time Square, followed by the clinking of champagne glasses, kisses and a chorus of Auld Lang Syne in North America. To the burning of Scarecrows in Ecuador, in the name of good fortune; or the assurance of a year of good luck should you be able to stuff 12 grapes in your mouth at midnight while in Spain; and in certain South American countries, the colour of your underwear can determine your fate for the year ahead, red for love; gold for wealth and white for peace.
Universally, there is a long standing tradition. Started over 4000 years ago, by the Babylonians, the “New Year’s Resolution”. The forerunners of these first resolutions were the promises made to the Gods to pay off debts and to the commitment to return items that had been borrowed to their rightful owners. It was believed that the community members would be blessed with favour from the Gods, good fortune throughout the year, if these promises were kept. With the passing of the years, one calendar year at a time, the nature of our resolutions have developed into the unavoidable “commitments” to transition into the new year, resolving to do better, be better, change and improve.
Being resolute in the desire to be more financial responsible and the neighbourly behaviour of returning borrow items surely brought about more good luck, fortune and respect than the many Resolutions that will be uttered this New Years Eve. On December 31st, 2017 the air will be filled with promises, commitments and utterances of “I will be more healthy”, “I am going to make this MY year to live life to the fullest” and an endless list of other deficiencies that require the coveted role among our midnight declarations.
Such broad statements with no true commitment or accountability, it should come as no surprise that many of these statements do not hold water much past the end of January. What exactly does being more healthy look like? The Dictionary defines “Health” as: the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigour; soundness of body and mind; freedom of disease and ailment. And “more” is defined as; in greater quantity, additional or further. So the statement means to further improve, in greater quantities the overall general condition of your body and/or mind.
There is no doubt what the message is that we are expected to digest – with the 315% increase in gym memberships each January, health is measured by the numbers within the walls of the fitness centre. How many reps?? How much weight?? Start weight vs current weight. It is an overwhelming pressure to create health through the manipulation and changes that can be made in fitness levels, weight loss or muscle gains. Health as defined by the Diet / Fitness industry is a reflection of the number of dollars of revenue it collects each year with the most popular resolution worldwide.
What about making this year the year to live your life to the fullest? Is there a more ineffective cliche? What kind of power does January 1st really have? Does it have the ability to create enough inspiration to encourage the depressed to feel more content, to motivate the unmotivated to get up off their backside or just be grateful for what you already have? If you need a list of ways to get yourself together to make this resolution a success, there are lists upon lists on google that include 101 ways to live your life to the fullest. Essentially this resolution is a sure fire way to ensure that you feel guilt and shame at all that you are not, all that you do not have and your inability to feel content and grateful for what you have created in your own life.
To boil it all down, no matter how long we have been following the tradition, resolutions are clearly not the most effective way to bring about a new year with positivity or hope. In fact, I see it as a way to reinforce the year long self talk that you have not met even your own expectations. A bold acknowledgement to the world that you recognize your obligation to change yourself, your behaviour, your appearance, from bad or unacceptable to good and pleasing. Can we all just agree, that on most days we learn something new, engage in a way we could have done something differently, have the desire to be in the optimal health of the moment, find balance in our surroundings or environment and can accept that we have our own desires to be true to our own path of progress.
There is one thing that the new year truly represents and that is 365 days full of things that have never been. Trust the magic of new things with the dawning of the day, not the drop of the disco ball, announced by Dick Clark as the clock hits midnight.
My resolution for 2018….
To Start my year off with an empty slate, that I can fill with all the things that happen throughout the year; all the awesome moments, the new acquaintances, the old friends, the adventures, challenges, and disappointments.
Thank you for all the lessons
I am ready.
2018 will be………revealed….. day by day.
Happy New Year.