I really like writing this column, but sometimes it’s hard to come up with a topic I think people will want to read, especially when I’ve been busy. My usual strategy of waiting for something to hit me is not happening this week. So I set my alarm early this morning, specifically to set aside a few minutes to gather my thoughts, which lately tend to kinetically bounce around my brain like popcorn in a hot pan. Perhaps it’s all the sugar I’ve been eating. I know I am not alone in a tendency to over-indulge over the holidays; no wonder our thoughts turn to New Year’s resolutions. A little online research reveals that of the 48 percent of Americans who make resolutions at the beginning of the year, only around 8 percent succeed. I think I know why.
Resolve is a strong, meaty word, in good company with determination, perseverance, tenacity and fortitude. New Year’s resolutions seem to be just a weak dilute, a noble but flawed attempt to become a better version of ourselves. The problem, as I see it, and I speak from my own experience of failure, is that the further we get from the emotions that drive us to make resolutions, the less likely it is we can hang on to our passion for turning over a new leaf. We become distracted by the demands of every day life, and forget. This year my only resolution is to be mindful. We all live in the moment – doing, feeling, fulfilling, reacting – but it’s not the same as being mindful. We become so hyperfocused on the task at hand, that we lose perspective on the things that are most important to us.
I have a whole list of things I’d like to achieve someday, but someday never gets here. However, I always have this day: today. I reckon that if I can work on taking charge of my life, every day – instead of my life taking charge of me – I’ll position myself for success on the whole list.
Back to the popcorn: if you don’t cover that hot pan, the kernels will be flying all over the place. But regulate the heat, place a lid on it, move it off the heat when the popping slows down – and you end up with a kettle full of beautiful, wholesome, fragrant goodness. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Happy New Year!