I dislike them.
Many years of unexpected changes have taught me that a year is a lot of opportunities for things to go “not as planned”. I know that, in a year, I’ll be changed. My goal is more mindfulness of each moment instead of living with my eyes set on some distant “prize”.
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
Here’s the real story behind the well-documented failure of New Year’s resolutions: We don’t develop self-destructive behaviors because we’re weak, or because “they just became a habit,” or because everyone around us was doing them, or because of our neurobiology or heredity. The meaning of these behaviors is unconscious and we develop them because they serve unconscious beliefs and needs. These beliefs and needs are important, albeit unconscious, building blocks of our identities. They provide a sense of unconscious safety, and changing them is unconsciously experienced as dangerous.
Many of us face memories of our past that we may regret. We are human and humans are fallible. Personal intelligence allows us to see ourselves and others with greater fidelity—and this fidelity includes an understanding of our own fallibility. Seeing ourselves clearly isn’t always easy. Information about who we are is “hot” and emotionally charged—that heat can warm or scald us. We may focus on a personal flaw so much that we lose perspective on the broader contours of life. It’s easy to turn away at times, and indeed, we all do. Yet if we work over time to learn a bit more about ourselves we may become more accurate at self-understanding and this, in turn, can help us change for the better. Because although many aspects of our personalities persist over time, there is also opportunity for change.
If you’re going to resolve to do anything this year, resolve to know yourself more fully and be present in whatever situation you find yourself. Those are the two greatest opportunities for growth and change.