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New Year’s resolutions for 2007

It is the custom at this time of year to devise one (or more) target, or change, if you like, often known as a “resolution”.  They never last.  The luckier of mine make it to March; the luckiest to June.  In fact, their lack of longevity is somewhat of a custom too.  It’s almost hard to take them seriously.

It’s not hard, though, to find something to attribute these yearly failures to.  “Lose weight”, “get fit”, “study harder”, “help others”, “be organised” or “spend more time with my family” were never strategies for successful resolutions.  They are not targets.  They are vague statements of intent.  They lack something to aim for, and with nothing to aim for, motivation gives way to laziness, and when that happens, failure prevails.  Though the target has to carry some sort of realism with it.

I succeeded in some of my 2006 resolutions, though I must admit I’ve forgotten what a lot of them were.  I didn’t get fit, but I did join a hockey team.  I flossed my teeth every night until about March.  As for taking more care of myself (read: being more selfish), well, I do suppose I learnt to say “no”.  Just ask anyone that tried to ask more for help in physics (not looking at anyone in particular).  But I got sick four times last year.  But then again, refer to the second paragraph.

It is with this in mind that I resolve the following:

  • To learn to swim, and be able to swim twenty-five metres without stopping, before camp
  • To learn to drive, and to gain my restricted licence, before the university semester begins
  • To floss my teeth on days divisible by three, or on the following day if necessary, until my birthday in September (by which time, hopefully, it will have become habit)
  • To take part in at least two sessions of physical activity every week; where there is a training and a game for the same sport, they count as one; three lunchtimes count as one
  • To keep a consistent stop-everything-and-go-to-bed time at eleven o’clock, and a bedtime at half past eleven, on nights before school days, to be out of bed before twenty to eight the next morning, and to arrive at school by twenty-five to nine by aiming to leave home at twenty-five past eight; and stop-everything time of half past midnight on nights before weekends during the school term, for the first three school terms; with allowance to be made for one weeknight a week where midnight is the limit

This is not, by any means, a list of what I plan to achieve this year, or what I plan to do that’s differed from last year.  (I do want to keep in mind not to buy a workbook for English, no matter what the teacher says—learnt that the hard way twice.  And it would be nice to carry out that uniform consultation properly, right?  Unless you’re a year thirteen, in which case you don’t care.)  It is a set of resolutions: a set of lifestyle changes, if you like (though the first two are arguable, they are rather important).  I’ve tried not to make them too ambitious, because they always fail too.  But I must admit, the list does seem rather daunting, now that I look at it.

People seem to talk about how to set and achieve goals (and, for that matter, New Year’s resolutions) a lot—specificness, realism, measurability, planning, steps, planning, actions.  Remember how they used do the whole goal-setting-for-the-term thing in primary school?  And no-one really took it too seriously?  (Well, that’s how it was where I came from, anyway.)  I’m not even sure if I’ve understood the value of it now.  What I have gathered, though, is that setting real targets and planning for them does make them more achievable, and to have achieved one of them is something worth the effort.  Perhaps I’m (finally) getting brainwashed.

May your troubles in the New Year be as shortlived as your resolutions.

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