Resolutions In a Pessimistic World

It is the new year, 2018 is here. Which feels insane, wasn’t it 2005 like two weeks ago?! Shooo time flies.

As we approached the new year I noticed an increase of chatter on social media about resolutions. That is not shocking news, it happens every late December. This year it seemed different though, more negative. I even polled my friends on social media and over half of them do not do resolutions.

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What I originally noticed was a more cynical tone than usual. I looked back even two years ago and the tone was totally different. I saw endless memes about how ridiculous resolutions were or “I’m not making any changes, I was amazing before”. I saw a lot of people dreading the new year in ways that seemed different from previous years. So what is so different this year? What has made everyone so pessimistic about the future? It is not just the small subset of people on my social media, watch a tv show from say the 90’s or earlier and I guarantee there will be at least one episode about hopeful resolutions, even if they are not resolutions people complete- watch one now and it is more pessimistic about changes.

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Some people I know have told me that they feel you have a new chance to change your life every day, not just on January 1st and that is why they do not make “resolutions”. These people usually do not have a list of things they are suddenly working on but they are often people who spend time focusing on their self development throughout the year. They have resolutions, even if they do not call them that. In general, they are still optimistic about the future and the ability for us to change and grow throughout life.

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However, there also seems to be a very common way of thinking that says “I am who I am” or “I can’t help it-this is just me”. Which is so sad to me. I do not want to give away my power that way. I think everyone can always change, and improve, and grow. That is what we have all been brought here for; to grow and progress. I love the empowerment of people who shake up their lives and make big changes. Whether the person is changing their health, starting a new business, chasing a dream, finding a deeper faith, working on self love, or just trying to improve their day to day-it is all beautiful to me. We have a choice, every day,- really every minute, to make our lives what we want them to be, we have the power.

This is not to say that it is not humorous to watch yourself or others make unrealistic goals on New Years Eve that are abandoned by January 15th. I have been there, I think we all have. I think this happens because we swing wildly from pessimistic to too optimistic about change. Change is hard and we cannot suddenly become a different person overnight, even if that night is December 31st. I was an adult before I learned about making small, measurable goals to reach a larger goal. We need those mini victories to show us our efforts pay off and we need to make small changes if we want to make a big change. If you want to, let’s say, have your entire house organized, it is easier and more attainable to focus on organizing one room or section at a time. The same is true with our personal goals for ourselves. Baby steps.

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I do not know if it is failure at previous resolutions, if it is the idea that we cannot or do not need to change in life, or the current political climate in our country that has spawned such pessimism this new year. I just know that I miss the hope. I miss seeing people full of hope and brimming with possibilities at the beginning of the year.

For me, 2017 was a rough year but it also held a lot of joy and blessings. Despite the trials of the past, my past failures, and my disappointment in our political reality; I am still looking forward to 2018 with hope and joy. I know that even the hard times will help us grow and I know growth, progress, and improvement are ALWAYS possible.

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