Could This Be The Only New Year’s Resolution You Need? Written by Dr Linda Berman.

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It is new Year’s Eve. Maybe you are having a party, or going to one tonight? 🎉 🥂

Maybe you’re not.

However you might choose to celebrate- or ignore- the New Year, the fact is, tomorrow all of us- hopefully – will wake up to January 1st 2020.

What does this mean for us? A new start? New promises to ourselves? Or just another day?

New Year’s Eve means different things to different people, and different age groups. It’s one thing to be 70 and see another New Year’s Eve pass by, and quite another to be 18 and really look forward to that special party!

Although, of course, it’s quite possible to have fun at any age!

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“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” 

Bill Vaughan

Do You make New Year’s Resolutions? If so-

Does your New Year’s Resolution list look something like this?

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If it does, I have news for you, you’re unlikely to keep it! Research reveals that only 10% of us can manage to keep these kinds of resolutions for very long.

“May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!”

― Aleister Crowley

But, seriously, a new year IS a new beginning. What it offers us, perhaps, is choice. The freedom to choose what we might do about regrets, mistakes and misunderstandings and the opportunity to begin to find new ways of thinking about them.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language,
And next year’s words await another voice.
What we call the beginning is often the end,
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
T. S. Eliot

If you do make any New Year’s resolutions at all, however, they do need to be manageable and realistic.

A lot of people also approach New Year’s resolutions with an all-or-nothing attitude. They go straight from zero to 100 with no warm-up or consultation with reality. If someone hasn’t run in years, resolving to run five days a week is a ludicrous goal — it’s practically unattainable. And when they (entirely predictably) don’t meet it, instead of reassessing their goal, they chalk it up as a failure. There’s always next year, right?

New York Times

Pressurising oneself to keep to New Year’s resolutions beyond January 5th or so is just adding extra stress to one’s life.

What if You Don’t Make Any New Year’s Resolutions?

“Many years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to never make New Year’s resolutions. Hell, it’s been the only resolution I’ve ever kept!”
D.S. Mixell

Instead of concocting a resolution list doomed to failure and setting ourselves up for a fall, perhaps we can abandon those fixed resolutions and think about what we might hope to do in 2020?

The word resolution suggests a firm and rather authoritarian commitment, as if it is something written in stone.

Perhaps we could lower our expectations of ourselves in terms of making resolutions and think instead about our aspirations, hopes and dreams.

So how about something like this for the first 3 points on an intention list:

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I’m sure you could think of loads of other ideas! Please will you send me your suggestions in the comments box below or on Twitter? I’d be really interested in what you think. Let’s learn from each other’s experience!

Instead of trying to obey self-made, over-parental rules and orders, we can try to adopt new attitudes, focussing on our own potential for change.

In addition, tuning into ourselves and our own needs is crucially important if we are to know and develop in new and healthy directions.

This has been described as simply ‘doing what feels good.’  It implies an openness to new experiences and a wish to pay attention to our inner selves. This is surely worth more than long to-do lists.

The rest will likely follow. External aspects of our lives such as exercise or diet may fall into place when we feel strong, confident and healthy inside.

Keeping ourselves physically healthy, with good food and exercise, is crucially important.

However, if we are not doing this and are continually feeling as though we are ‘letting ourselves down,’ perhaps we might first need to examine our psychological attitudes.

One would hope that, with a healthier mental approach to our lives generally, we might not have to goad ourselves into keeping healthy. 

We may, of course, need medical or psychological help, or both, to achieve this internal equilibrium.

This is certainly not achievable through written memos. If you feel good about yourself, you will not have to make long lists of resolutions; what you need will come naturally.

If you are able to keep an open mind in the New Year, then you will be receptive to others and to learning.

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” Albert Einstein

Perhaps being open to new learning is the most important and inclusive intention we could have for 2020. It has massive and far-reaching implications for all of us. Could this be the only New Year’s resolution we need?

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Albert Einstein

image.pngAnd now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

“No matter how hard the past is, you can always begin again.” – Buddha

“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives … not looking for flaws but for potential.”

-Ellen Goodman

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