Evidently the ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year’s resolutions but experts believe those resolutions were probably more along the line of pledges made to the gods in hopes for good luck in the coming year, and may have involved returning borrowed equipment and paying off debts. Back then, the New Year began in March with the start of the new agricultural cycle. By that calendar, I’m still a little ahead of the game wishing everyone a happy New Year in February.
Whether you are hoping for good luck from the gods, or looking for help closer to home, making New Year’s resolutions have long been the human attempt to retool some facet of their lives that they are unhappy with. Many resolutions fall by the wayside just a few weeks, or even days into the new year.
I often resolve to try and get more organized in order to get more done. Its not a ridiculously unreachable goal-and it sounds good–every year! I have made strides in the reorganizing direction, and I will continue to do so, but have I gotten any more done this year? Nope, in fact I’d venture a guess that I’ve gotten even less done this year than I have in past years. Some of it can be laid directly at the door of procrastination, but also equally guilty are other commitments in my life. As one gets older, and looks happily towards retirement and the thought that then we’ll be able to get things done-well, its nice to have dreams!
I tend to enjoy reading self-help books and articles. I found an interesting one recently that suggested self-compassion was a healthier attitude to have than self-confidence. Having read so often that with a touch of self-confidence one can sail into, and succeed in, challenging situations it was eye-opening to read that these experts feel that self-confidence tends to make us over estimate our skills and consequently not know when we are in over our heads-and unlikely to admit it should we be that prescient. With self-compassion we acknowledge that we are not perfect, but are trying to do the best we can in a world that is also imperfect. With self-compassion we cut ourselves some slack, rather than beat ourselves up, when we fail, and its far healthier that way. Its not making excuses, its more living with reality; its allowing yourself to learn from failure rather than running away from it.
So, Happy New Year! Did you make any resolutions?
If you’re interested in reading the article I reference above, it can be found here.