Resolutions. It’s the end of the year and the end of a decade. In some respects that’s a really big deal but really it’s just another day with a bigger tick mark on it in our heads that make it seem like it’s different than all the others. A way of marking the time that has passed. I’ve not been a big fan of resolutions for the most part because while they are meant to make you happier, make you a better person, right your past wrongs, the are frequently so lofty that the chance of success is very slim and that just leads to disappointments and feelings of failure when you eventually either don’t meet the goal or generally break the resolution.
Instead I prefer to look back on the last year, or on the last 10 years as it might be. Look at what I wanted to do, what I actually did, what I didn’t. Where did I think I would be today when I was looking ahead a year ago, or 10 years ago? Am I on track with those projections? If not, is the track I chose better than the one I thought I was going to take? What have I done right? What have a done wrong? Who did I help? Who did I hurt? I think reflecting is very valuable. It helps you see what kind of a person you are. It’s really easy to paint a beautiful picture of the person you want to be but actually taking a solid look at the person you are I think is a better way to see what actions to take that will help you to be a better person tomorrow.
I know not everyone cares about that, but it’s kind of the central thing to me. At least I always want it to be. I know I fuck up. I know I’ve done things wrong. I know I’ve hurt people. I didn’t want to or intend to do those things, so what can do, what can I keep in mind to reduce the chances of doing those things again in the future. And more that that, not just fixing mistakes, what can I do to generally improve situations. What can I do to be a better person. What can I do to not just make the world a little better place for me, but for those around me.
Of course it’s easy to write that off as equally selfish and lofty and I’d be lying to say these concerns are paramount every day – sometimes the only thing I care about is having a really good cup of coffee – but I think spending some time thinking about it every once and a while is a good way to asses and evaluate and adjust accordingly. I think wanting to do the right thing goes a long way and influences your actions without it being a conscious decision. Maybe I’m full of shit, but that’s what I tend to think.
And bringing that back to resolutions, thinking to myself that I want to try to do more good than bad seems more reachable and attainable than having some statistic I’m trying to reach. Of course I still have those mini-milestones in my head for this project or that one, but I think pulling those off should be the byproduct of being on the right track, not the main goal that is being worked towards. The destination isn’t the goal. When you get to the destination it’s over. And if that’s all you were thinking about then you missed the journey in between here and there.
Happy New Year.