New Year Resolutions

You can take a high view of the New Year, or a low view. Here is T.S.Eliot in one of his Four Quartets, Little Gidding:

 For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

We like to think that we can use the convenience of the calendar to sum up our lives and perhaps make a fresh start; well, at least in our diets and general fitness. Perhaps. Yes, we say, we could do with a bit of an overhaul, assess where we are and perhaps resolve to become better people by adjusting our lifestyle and improving our relationships across the board.

 But then, probably by the 2nd January, what pretends to be reality kicks in, neatly summed up by a tweet of a couple of years ago: ‘Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results means you're either insane or are making a New Year's resolution.’ In other words, old habits don’t just die hard, they hang around for ever. Or seem to. So, we wend our way through the first days of the New Year with waning aspirations and a resignation that, well, better the devil you know…

 Somewhere between idealism and cynicism lies who and where we are, people who, yes, are very much the same as they were on the 31st December, but who may, just may use the opportunity of the beginning of New Year to say, ‘what would I like to achieve this year?’ ‘what challenge do I want to set myself?’ Because, like it or not, change does happen to all of us – we are all getting older for a start – and it is a good and healthy thing to at least ask some questions about ourselves, which may, in turn, lead us to try and anticipate the future instead of being a prisoner of the past.

 In the meantime, don’t worry about resolutions; they seldom ever last for too long. That’s the fate of all resolutions. After all, they go in one year and out the other.