The empty promise of New Year's Eve

It’s that time of year again, when social media is full of inspirational messages encouraging everyone to make positive changes to their lives on the odd premise that the start of a new year is the ideal time to do so. A common quote that’s used for these messages is from Brad Paisley:

Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.

This type of thinking has come to really annoy me in recent years.

New year’s resolutions–for most people–follow a pattern. Resolve to do something different starting from January 1st. Break that resolution by February 1st, and usually a lot sooner. Feel guilty for the next 11 months while continuting the behaviour they resolved to change until the end of December when they feel confident they’ll be able to stick with it this time. This manner of thinking has become cliché.

Don’t wait until the new year to write the story you want to be living.

Becoming a better person does not happen easily and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. Changing your habits is challenging; accept that you will fail. The only way to change yourself permanently is to learn the lessons from the times you fail and apply them to your next attemp. This is how we learn to do everything. You didn’t wait 11 months after your first fell over when attempting to walk before having another go. Why do we think developing ourselves should be easier as we get older?

It’s not true to say that I don’t have any resolutions, but I can confidently say that I don’t have any New Year’s resolutions. The things I plan to do from tomorrow are the same things I planned to do yesterday. A 6 becoming a 7 in the way we mark the passing years holds no more significance to me than every time we move from the 6th to the 7th minute past the hour.

Here’s my version of that quote and it’s something I try–and fail often–to live by:

Every tomorrow is the first blank page of a book with an unknown number of pages. Don’t wait until the new year to write the story you want to be living.

And with that I wish you all a happy 7th minute past the hour.