Statistically, they say, most New Year's resolutions die by January 13. I’m hoping to give mine the gift of longevity this year. Which is why I’m taking no chances.
For starters, I’m not even going to call them resolutions. The thing with the word ‘resolutions’ is that they all go predictably along the lines of This-year-I-will-do-this and I-will-not-do-that. And therein lies the problem.
You do or avoid doing the thing in question for some days, and then one day, other commitments, failure of infrastructure, illness etc, cause you to miss the date. And Poof! There goes the resolution into the trash can.
For years I have made resolutions, believing that it is a traditional thing to do at the beginning of a brand New Year. I have always had a compulsion to mark the clean slate that the New Year gave me by framing a resolution or two, none of which ever outlived the first fortnights of their lives.
The first time I missed my date with the resolution, I would be so dejected that I would not have the courage to try afresh until the following New Year. I remember how at the beginning of every school year, I would resolve to write neatly in my notebooks. No smudging, no blotting, no cancelling, I would tell myself. If that wasn’t hard enough, I would tell myself that the handwriting had to be beautiful, as calligraphic as I could manage to make it when the teacher was dictating at the speed of 80 words per minute. If that meant that I miss out some important paragraphs along the way, I wasn’t fazed. That was what they called collateral damage, I thought.
And then at the first blot or cancellation, I would be so distraught that I would completely give up wanting to write neatly. It was as if the pristine purity of the page had been marred, and there was no sense in striving for what was lost.
This year, in a remarkable break from tradition, I decided not to make any resolutions at all. Instead, I decided to make 13 goals for the Year 2013. If I must fail, at least I will fail BIG. On the flip side, even if I succeeded in a few of the goals, it would still be a worthwhile exercise.
To be honest, in the best traditions of kyon ki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi, a lot, but not all, of these goals have been resolutions in the past.
I am just rehashing them. Giving them what is popularly known as a fresh lease of life.
Karen Lamb once said, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” After years of making the same regret-speeches, I’ve finally decided to see if I can’t fool myself into achieving my goals for a change.
So here’s to me and my attempt to make a brave new beginning through no less than 13 goals:
1 Blog more often. In 2012, I had 62 posts to my credit, which was a huge jump from the 7 in 2011 and the 3 posts each in 2010 and 2009. This year, can I aim for ONE HUNDRED posts? Is that too much to ask?
2 Write more. Can I make a promise to myself? Can I commit to finishing TWO short stories this year? How about 10 poems?
3 Read at least one book every month. Fortunately this one’s easy.
4 Work towards becoming fluent in Spanish. Earlier I had typed, “Become fluent in Spanish.” Then realised it was best to be realistic about these things.
5 Crochet something. Anything. A baby blanket or booties or a scarf or stole or doily or table runner. Whatever. Just use up those boxes of yarn I feel compelled to buy.
6 Hold no grudges. This is going to be tough. I can tell.
7 Pray the Rosary every day. More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.
8 Do a random act of kindness as often as possible. Preferably to someone who cannot pay me back.
9 Make a list of bad habits, and get rid of at least one. I’m not telling which one.
10 Volunteer at a good cause.
11 Get organised. And that means de-cluttering.
12 Get financially smarter.
13 Keep in touch with old friends. I’m not very good at picking up the phone and calling, or writing the odd letter. I need to change that this year.
So that’s my list of 13 goals.
Don’t forget to drop in this time next year to see what fate they meet.