I was once a Resolution guy. As in New Year’s. As in, “This year, I’m going to ______,” or “This year, I’m going to stop ______.” It was an important thing for me to do, and something I didn’t take lightly. A new year is a great thing full of possibility. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean. Or, in some instances, to add to what’s already been written there.
But the thing about making resolutions was that I wasn’t very resolute. It’s easy to say you’re going to do this or stop that, harder to actually do or stop. Things are always simpler in our heads, where we imagine our goals without many of the roadblocks that will inevitably appear. Much of life is lived in that gray area between what we know we should do and what we do anyway.
That’s why my New Year’s resolutions always failed. When the many big ones I’d settled on went by the wayside, I thought I’d try just a few big ones. Those failed, too. So I tried many little ones. When that didn’t work out, I thought I’d try just one little resolution, one tiny thing about me I thought I could improve. Nope. As it turned out, those small, single promises to myself were often broken faster than the big ones.
Change can be a tough thing. Changing yourself, the toughest of all.
Trust me. I’ve tried.
There are a great many things I’d rather not be that I am. Nothing major, I suppose, but certainly a lot of minors. And I often catch myself thinking that if I could just take care of those minor things, my life would be so much better. I would be happy. At peace.
Maybe. But of course if I did manage to correct those things, others would be waiting. It’s like climbing a hill and finally reaching the top, only to see endless more hills in front of you.
We may all not want to be perfect, but a lot of us do. And a lot more of us know we never will be, but try anyway.
Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. I know enough to realize I can and should be a better person. I’ve also learned to take it easy on myself when I’m not.
That said, I’m still a Resolution guy, though maybe not for the same reasons most are. I don’t just make them every January 1, either. I make them daily. Sometimes they come just before my day starts, other times just before the day ends. My mind will wander to those times I stumbled and fumbled, and I’ll make a promise not to let it happen again. Sometimes I keep that promise, sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t, I remind myself that a broken promise still has some merit. It means I cared enough to try.
Trying always matters.
So I’m going to take a moment to remind myself that even though this is a new year, it’s still the old me in it. The me that’s fragile and fallible, who will fail more often than he succeeds, who will crash more than he flies. But that’s okay, it really is.
Because I’m going to try anyway. I’m going to promise. And even if that promise is for naught, I’ll count it to my credit that it was made.