Over the years, I have heard people say, I don’t do New Year resolutions, as if resolutions are an unfashionable item of clothing. Me? I have no grouse with New Year resolutions; they are not like mosquitoes singing in my ear that I need to slap away.
You know that Angus and Phil cartoon where the two dogs are having a conversation? The one where Angus asks, “What exactly is a New Year’s resolution?” and Phil replies, “It’s a ‘To Do’ list for the first week of January,”? It has me in stitches every New Year when I see it on my newsfeed on Facebook. What is it about New Year resolutions and un-stickability? Are we so spineless? Perhaps we resolve to do better without looking at why we failed the year before.
I have come to believe the saying that men fail because of broken focus. I do not think of my goals at the start of the year as resolutions. These goals, which span spirituality, character, vocation, and health, are work-in-progress, whose expiry date can spill over from a previous year because sometimes distractions pose as good intentions and obliterate my focus. Focus requires clear targets. Sustaining focus becomes easy when I strip down what I want to achieve to bullet points and then marry them to small chunks of time. Then, I can be a vigilante one day at a time
Mostly, I wake up without an alarm and not long after, I reach for time—a watch, phone, or clock. Even on days that I can do as I please and do not need to look at the clock; I still catch myself glancing out the window gauging time by the slant of the sun, degree of cloud cover, or pace of life on the streets, to make meaning of our world. In a sense, all of us are measuring time. But if we take casual cognizance of time, the days and weeks would blend into one another. It would be like defying gravity and just floating in space, fascinating at first and pointless in the end.
A friend reminded me that in 2015, he counted the days. When he said it, I imagined him standing in front of a huge calendar, striking out the days written in black ink, with red crayon. I saw how fast he flipped the calendar from month to month, achieving little. He said that in contrast, in 2016, he would make the days count. I like his rhetoric. For me, this means before I lay my head on my pillow at night, I would have taken at least one step in the direction of my goals. Then 365 days later, I will measure time and come up full.
Whether we call our aspirations resolutions or goals, how we spend our days becomes how we spend our lives.
©Timi Yeseibo 2016
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