I started contemplating the point of New Year’s resolutions. Would I make a list of demands on myself to carry out starting January 1st, or would I sit back and laugh at how cliche’ and typical the people are who do? The cool kids group would probably perch on their sideline high horses watching the soccer Moms power walk around the local high school track , or scoff at the 40-year-old man, who suddenly decides to take up bicycling dressed up in his new Lance Armstrong wear. They are way too hip for such ventures. Even the nicer crowd, not famous for poking fun at others, tend to spew things about how ridiculous it is to put expectations on one’s self because of the date on the calendar. We should exercise self-control and healthy lifestyles year-round, right? Deciding this just because the ball drops in Time Square is a little weak for people who are truly in touch with reality, isn’t it?
I disagree. I think New Year’s resolutions are a great idea, and they compliment the way the human psyche ticks. We need new beginnings. Psychologically, when we see the opportunity to erase the old, and start the new, we feel like things are possible for us again. It’s the only way we can justify giving ourselves a pass in what was, and a door to what could be. Moreover, without a catalyst, I think sometimes we just don’t stop to regroup and realize, we CAN change, and that it’s time.
It isn’t only the new year that incites the need to make vows…newness in general does it. When we buy new homes, purchase new clothes, get new haircuts, or start new jobs we often feel okay enough about things to at least toy with the reset button. Especially as Americans, we tend to not believe in failure. We tend to turn our noses up to do overs, but there’s a loophole. A do ever is written into the calendar for us. If each year, the very time-table we live by gives us this chance, then by all means we should take it. It’s a gift.
Another example comes to mind. November was National Novel Writing Month. Of course, writer’s don’t have to wait on November to roll around to start a new project. However, the fact that everyone else in the field is getting geared up stirs up the mojo. It is the collective chance for a new beginning. For a few months I’d been pouting about the fact that my first completed novel had yet to be picked up. Why should I start a new project? November got me thinking…I write because it’s what I do, and I could forgive myself for not receiving that coveted letter from the perfect agent in the mail. I had the power to start something new because November reached out and offered me a new beginning…a clean tablet to write on. It validated me, and it was just what I needed…a new round of query letters went out yesterday…
The point is the prospect of new starts work…they make us try a little harder. They pull the trigger for us. Let’s not defy it out of some self-righteous rule we’ve created; let’s embrace it, take the mulligan and watch that next shot soar straight to the green.