Every New Year people become rather obsessed it seems with making new years resolutions. Many seem to think it is natural to suddenly make long and unobtainable lists of the things they ‘should’ or ‘must’ be doing.
‘I should be slim’ is followed by hopeless looks in the mirror at the body they have come to despise as they over-optimistically join a gym in the hope of pulling muscles or drink weight-watchers shakes until they feel faintly nauseous or taking up Pilates with their sights set on a size eight. ‘I ‘must stop smoking’ they tell ourselves, as they energetically throw ashtrays and cigarettes sadly into the bin, without the knowledge of why they even smoke or what giving-up for them is realistically likely to look like, as they craftily have a puff of one behind the garden shed. ‘I should eat healthy’ they declare to themselves, as they wander forlornly past the confectionary section in their local supermarket, back at home secretly stuffing chocolate and crisps into their cavernous, hard done-by mouths, followed by three apples and a pear. ‘I must work harder’ they declare as they decide to go from disorganised chaos to militantly discipline in just one opportune day, the fun slowly disappearing from their over managed and stress-filled lives.
It is my belief that most resolutions are not the rational and levelled response of the conscious mind, but the problematic self-talk of one’s wayward inner critic, the lover of the powerfully laden ‘shoulds’ and musts’ that populate the dissatisfied minds of the populace every new year. The pride filled self-declarations that seem to the recipient to foster a sense of palatable achievement and hope, are nothing more than the self-denigrating musings of a troublesome inner cretin who is out-sourcing plates of disappointment, lowered self-esteem and failure to serve up cold by early February.
Resolutions, even the word makes one think of the ‘end’, rather than the delightful beginnings of a new year, a year full of opportunities yet to be discovered and excitement yet to be had.
Maybe, instead of making resolutions and leaving a litter of failed ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ in our wake, we would better off thinking about what we would like to happen this year.
What desires lie yet unexpressed in our beating hearts, what would really bring us contentment and joy, what dreams lie yet to be realised amongst the rambling wasteland of the inner critic?
No amount of ‘shoulds’ or ‘musts’ will get you through weekly sessions at the gym or three apples, twelve bananas and a kiwi but real authentic desire and an understanding of your dreams, the ones you keep putting off, strangely, until next year, may just spur you on, further than you think.
Here’s to dreams!
Happy New Year!