Have a happier new year

By Abby Boak


Screw temporal determinism! Here’s a suggestion for how to have a Happier New Year.

I had failed at every single one of the New Year’s resolutions I have ever set of myself. So for five years now my resolution has been to not have any resolutions. Somewhat ironically, this has worked INCERDIBY well for me.

In that time I have given up smoking, stopped drinking , become vegetarian, lost 3 stone in weight, changed my job, run three 10k runs, saved money for a house deposit, been on a real holiday, performed on stage, learnt to knit, read more books than at any other point in my life, begun to play an instrument, kept a diary, written blog posts, learned to Salsa and still had time to work a full-time job and raise my son! GO ME!!!

At some point prior to that, most of these items had featured on my resolution list. So what the hell is that all about? Here are some thoughts.

For many people, obligation leads to resistance. Not having any New Year Resolutions means that you become free to do any of those big things you want to do on any given day of the year, not out of obligation anymore because you have promised yourself you would (and sometimes because you have tried to make yourself accountable by telling other people, as may happen) but because you *actually* want to. This is very liberating and also quite a responsibility. But we are all grown-ups here… well… mostly…

Also using the word intention instead of resolution can be helpful. It means that, should you one day fail to write your diary entry, or not do three yoga sessions in a week, it doesn’t matter so much. With intentions you can’t really fail, as the important thing is that you continue to have the intention. It’s an on-going work in progress.

Preparing yourself mentally for a big change is SO important in getting the right attitude towards your decision. A friend who gave up drinking for a year told me he felt odd about counting the days as it just becomes about the big number. And that is the thing about it – most people need to be ready for change to happen and forcing it on one particular day for a particular amount of time can set them up for failure. Making a change when you are ready for it means it becomes part of who you are, naturally and organically because the desire was there and you were already on that path.

I’m not for one moment saying not to make resolutions in some sort of way; making decisions about how you want your life to be is really important to everyone in order to feel fulfilled. But trying it with a different tactic might have better outcomes for you if, like me, you’ve never kept a single one!

So, may I wish you luck in your continuing lifetime AND HAVE MANY HAPPY NEW INTENTIONS!!!!!!!

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