Friday, January 2, 2015

Thoughts on the New Year & Resolutionaries

Well, as I see the parking lot at my local gym swell temporarily with what I call, “New Year’s Resolutionaries,” I think it’s time to take look at the way we look at the New Year.

First, an observation that is almost an afterthought – because for many people, it is, we focus so much of our effort on making resolutions at the start of each new year and very little effort making a push near the end of the old year. Businesses focus on collecting receivables before the end of each fiscal period to get the balance sheet in shape for the 10K/10Q reporting. Why don’t I ever see posts on Facebook or Twitter as the "old year" closes about how much people are trying to lose those last ten pounds or spend more time with their children or run that marathon or learn a new language or visit an old friend or save more money or publish that book?

Bird, bird, stone: John Dignam, Jordan Mattingly, and me.
Making resolutions, I believe, is an admission that the Resolutionary is inherently flawed or not worthy. Okay, fine, no one is perfect, but still, creating a list of all the things that a person will resolve to do implies that the person making the resolutions is working from a position in which he or she flawed: overweight, ignorant, obtuse, incompetent, or unhappy. Frankly, that’s no way to live a life.

That, of course, is not to say that every one of us cannot improve. Heaven knows, I certainly can. Still, checking boxes is a far cry from living one’s life in with integrity, character, and dignity. Regularly, daily, take a few moments to reflect on what went well and what could have done better. Then, with or without help, try things to do better and to be better. Then, do it again. And, again. The day, month, year is extremely arbitrary. December 31 is just one day before January 1 just like October 3 is just a day before October 4, right?
The Beautiful Daughters & Friends at the U.S. Military
Academy at West Point. (Go Army! Beat Fordham!)

The annual tradition of resolution making and, inevitably breaking, is a procedure, which implies that once the Resolutionary completes the steps or checks the boxes, well, he or she is finished. Making the conscious effort to be a better person is a process, which suggests perpetuity; an on-going effort to improve continuously each day.

Look, those New Year's Resolutionaries whose cars will clog my gym parking lot and exercise classes will be a little bit of hassle for a month or two. For the rest of us, believe we are okay, be okay, and then be a little more okay each day.

Happy New Year.