New Year Resolutions, Or Not

Grass green bark tree nature

This is the time of year when we write resolutions and set goals. But how many of us make it a priority this year to become kind instead of rich, generous instead of well-traveled?

One day, I hope to receive a business card that says:

Mr. So and So

Profession: A good person

For help of any kind, please call…

But then I know we are only people. We think of goals and achievements. We want to travel to this place or that, get a degree or other, land a dream job, or fall in love.

We think in terms of concrete things and tangible achievements. After all, it’s not easy to measure patience, kindness, or understanding. And these won’t promise you a peaceful retirement, either. On the contrary, they may even soften you all round in our “competitive times,” much to your disadvantage.

The world is as it is and we are as we are, that is, worldly in the extreme. “Be a kinder person,” or “Be more patient with mother,” may not make it to the top of our resolutions, but surely we can smuggle such dreams into the more practical baggage of goals we will carry with us this year. At least we can try.

And as to practical resolutions, they are good to have. But when I write mine, I try to remind myself of a few things:

  • Don’t place most of your anticipated happiness in one resolution only, Vincent. You may not finish your book this year, but have a good year nevertheless.
  • Include others in your resolutions, too, will you? Sometimes, Vincent, what’s best for you isn’t the best thing for those closest to you.)
  • Make sure that what you wish for won’t make you work so hard that you won’t have time to let spontaneous things happen to you. (I’m still waiting for my spontaneous combustion to happen.)
  • Print your resolutions and stick them somewhere where you can’t miss them – digital resolutions are so easy to forget.
  • Balance out emotional, physical, intellectual, social, and professional resolutions. (Did anyone say social?)
  • Put deadlines on your resolutions.
  • Ask yourself this – if I am to die this year, what are the things that I really have to do?
  • Don’t set too many resolutions or a few months into the year you’ll feel overwhelmed, forget your list somewhere, and get nothing done.

In previous years I shared my resolutions with you. This year, though, I have only one:

Be kind – to yourself, to others, to your writing, to your camera, to your blog, to strangers, to everyone and everything life makes happen before you.

What’s your most important resolution this year?

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13 thoughts on “New Year Resolutions, Or Not

  1. I love your list, Vincent. I blogged mine today. I’m taking my resolutions down a huge notch since I worked way too hard in 2016 and still didn’t reach my goals. I’m entering the year of the Big Chill!
    Happy 2017!

  2. Hi Vincent! Great resolutions!
    I haven’t really got any real resolutions per se, I just haven’t written them down into words. I guess all I want is to CONTINUE in my pursuit of happiness. Happiness in myself will naturally flow onto others. To be kind, to show compassion, to be understanding and tolerant of everyone around me. I don’t know if those are new years resolution though, as I try everyday to be this way!

  3. You may appreciate this poem on Kindness, Vincent. Enjoyed this post. Thank you.

    Kindness

    Before you know what kindness really is
    you must lose things,
    feel the future dissolve in a moment
    like salt in a weakened broth.
    What you held in your hand,
    what you counted and carefully saved,
    all this must go so you know
    how desolate the landscape can be
    between the regions of kindness.
    How you ride and ride
    thinking the bus will never stop,
    the passengers eating maize and chicken
    will stare out the window forever.

    Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
    you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
    lies dead by the side of the road.
    You must see how this could be you,
    how he too was someone
    who journeyed through the night with plans
    and the simple breath that kept him alive.

    Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
    you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
    You must wake up with sorrow.
    You must speak to it till your voice
    catches the thread of all sorrows
    and you see the size of the cloth.

    Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
    only kindness that ties your shoes
    and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
    purchase bread,
    only kindness that raises its head
    from the crowd of the world to say
    it is I you have been looking for,
    and then goes with you every where
    like a shadow or a friend.

    (Naomi Shihab Nye)

  4. Lovely post Vincent. I don’t make resolutions, but I do challenge myself each new year with a different approach to things, maybe even create a new mind set in the process. This year will be an exercise in stepping out of the comfort zone. Please enjoy your evening. ~ Mia

  5. I haven’t made any “resolutions”, but thank you for making me realize that I haven’t really set myself any goals either. I’ve been working on developing my self-reflection skills and I have put plans in motion to keep me more productive, but I don’t have any real idea of how I want this year to go for myself or my family. I’ll have to sit down and figure that out.

  6. My only goal this year is to not only be a dreamer, but also a doer. It’s great that people have goals, but we can’t set ourselves a huge list of goals and expect ourselves to make it happen all at once. All discipline has it’s limits and that’s why people give up a few days or weeks later and hate themselves for that for the rest of the year.
    I also disagree with that artificial old year, new year cut. How can we create change while trying to deny what is, by leaving it in the past year? In the end it’s just the change of a single number to me personally, because those big goals people set themselves at new years eve, I set myself as step by step goals all through the year. In harmony with what is in flow at each moment and what not.
    You’re right, being kind is something to strive for, kind to others and to one self. When there is love, creating change happens so much more organic. With the eyes of love we see beauty, fascination and inspection on our path, which makes us spread a good message and share our happiness automatically, so we uplift others 🙂

  7. I really liked your “reminders” 🙂 I don’t use resolutions (I hate that word) as a fixed list of goals I have to achieve but rather as a guideline of things I’d like to do this year; a list I can look at during busy times that reminds me of what’s important to me.

    As for the most important goal – personal growth. Become a more loving person and grow creatively and intellectually (without neglecting my health).

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