MAYA ROSE FERNANDES
The clock strikes midnight. A new year begins. And so, does the cultural ritual of making New Year’s resolutions … or does it?
In a recent conversation with friends, a quick whip-round discussion about their New Year’s resolutions made me realise that fewer people are taking it as seriously as they once did.
This group of usually committed goal-setters was a bit vague when the question came up, and though we didn’t discuss it and I didn’t push the point further, it made me wonder what was happening with annual resolutions.
There’s a reason there’s a spike in gym membership in January, and more people have appointments with their financial advisors at the start of a new year.
A new year signifies rebirth energy and is imbued with the renewed hope that one will finally make those pending lifestyle changes.
I like a good session of goal-setting as much as the next perfectionist. But lately, the resolution thing just doesn’t get my heart pumping the way it once used to, either.
I did a quick survey to see if this situation went beyond just my friend’s circle, and it seemed that this was the case.
It’s possible that my focus group members are all at an age where we’re wising up about the reality of what we’re realistically able to achieve within a year, or perhaps we’re finally giving in to that sussegad way of life than ever before.
Maybe it’s a certain ennui that’s making itself felt, or maybe we’re realising that we’re at a stage of life where we need entirely new dreams and goals, after either having achieved the old ones, or having realised that the old ones have no purpose anymore.
A bit of introspection made me realise that the pandemic years might have impacted me more deeply than I was willing to admit to myself, at least where resolutions were concerned.
One of the hardest things that most of us had to face was the levels of uncertainty we had to live through, from 2020 to 2022.
The most positive among us fearlessly kept making plans, even in the face of seemingly unending uncertainty.
If you were like me, you’d have realised the fragility of long-term planning due to the unpredictability of the situation we were living in.
Resolutions around weight loss, career advancement, financial success or making new friends seemed increasingly superficial in the face of a global crisis full of lockdowns, redundancies, food shortages, homelessness and death.
Nowadays, if there’s a resolution to be made, I’m leaning more towards one where I acknowledge the need to be flexible and adaptable, in the face of unforeseen challenges, and develop more mental and spiritual resilience to weather almost anything that comes my way, global crises included.
I spent so much time grieving over the loss of the ability to make plans or live in the present and perhaps the emotional toll of that moment in time is still making itself felt as I push back against the need to make any solid 2024 resolutions.
Perhaps I’m learning to approach self-improvement with a newfound understanding of my own limitations. Perhaps the decline in naming New Year resolutions demonstrates a recalibration of how I want to make choices to prioritise my well-being.
Or perhaps, I’m just letting uncertainty get the best of me. Perhaps I’ll leave you to mull this over, while I go renew my gym membership.