I’m an anti-resolutionist. I’ve always been sceptical about the value of New Year’s resolutions. Occasionally I’d humour my sister when she wanted to be accountability buddies – I’d scribble down some random objectives and then conveniently lose that piece of paper.
After all, New Year’s resolutions are something I don’t need.
Why should I buy into this lame tradition?
(I don’t get why this is a thing)
Why should I commit to ditching bad habits I totally don’t have?
(I don’t smoke and I’m not in debt. What habits could you possibly be referring to?!)
Why should I commit to achieving things that are not really that important?
(I could do more exercise, I could write that novel … But I don’t really need to …)
And even if there were things I wanted to change about my life, why should self-improvement be put on hold until January 1?
(In the second half of 2015, I decided to blog at least once a fortnight and floss weekly, and I didn’t need to wait till today to do either of those things)
Basically, resolutions cramp my style.
The thing is, I struggle with goals because goals set expectations. I am expectation-averse because expectation sets you up for disappointment. I hate being disappointed in others, and so I try never to be. By not having high expectations of anyone.
Being disappointed in myself is even worse: it’s called failure and involves guilt, both of which are dastardly things I’d rather avoid.
As a result, I often feel like I’ve been cruising through life, making decisions casually as they arise. I’m quite capable of making hard decisions; I’m just no good at creating a challenging plan with medium to long -term goals, and making all subsequent decisions further that plan.
Without goals, I can be more flexible and spontaneous. After all, life is unpredictable and circumstances can change. That’s part of the beauty of it.
Without goals, I am free to enjoy and appreciate life as it comes without putting unnecessary pressure on myself.
For the most part, everything’s worked out well so far – minimal disappointment, lots of nice surprises and victories. Because I have no expectations for anything or anyone to live up to.
So actually, you could say my aversion to goals and expectations makes me a coward.
And not setting goals could mean I’m laid back to the point of being lazy.
I’m probably being a little harsh on myself, but the point is that my very resistance to expectations is a good reason for me to get down some resolutions for 2016. The actual content of the resolutions is almost irrelevant – it’s the fact of making and sticking to them that counts for me.
I’m going to fight the cowardice and laziness in me. Risk failure. Push myself to try harder. And today, January 1, is as good a time as any.
Starting today, I’m going to resolve my anti-resolutionism.
The funny thing is that the only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever made and stuck with is the one that brought me to faith. On January 1, 2000, I committed to reading the Bible from cover to cover, Genesis through to Revelation. Without skipping any of the “boring” bits. This not only changed my life, this defined my life.
I haven’t made a real New Year’s resolution since then. Until now.