As the New Year approaches, we look to a fresh start and a new beginning. It’s a tradition held by many to spend some time reviewing the past year and making a resolution or a wish for the New Year. Lose weight, stop smoking, spend less money and listen to your spouse more are just some of the resolutions that top the list.
We know when we make resolutions that at best, they are wishful thinking that holds no penalties if they don’t last. The most resolute thing about New Year’s resolutions and wishes is that although we make them with sincerity and plan to keep them in earnest when made, there’s the sense that there’s always next year to make them again. In fact, 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail—80% of them are over, forgotten or just abandoned by March of the new year.
The new year is indeed a time that many reflect on their lives—sometimes with regret, sometimes with anger about what went wrong—but more often with thanks and with hope for a better year ahead. There are always celebrities who weigh in with their New Year hopes, predictions, aspirations and advice. Oprah Winfrey famously said: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Albert Einstein advised: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Maya Angelou noted: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Mark Twain suggested, “New Year’s Day is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” John Lennon said: “Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” Michelle Obama encouraged youngsters to “choose people in your life who lift you up.” Mohammed Ali gave this advice: “I hated every minute of training. But I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. counseled his followers to “take the first step in faith—you don’t need to see the whole staircase, just the first step.” And even Dr. Seuss chimed in with this philosophical thought: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
With more than two years of the coronavirus and its variants, many things have now changed forever. Despite signs that we’re on the road to recovery, there is a new normal that for some is anything but normal. Surely, so much is different, from the way we currently work and shop, to how we spend our leisure time. Some might say they preferred the pre-pandemic ways—like seeing a new movie at the local cinema and buying a gigantic tub of hot popcorn loaded with butter, instead of viewing it at home on Netflix on their iPad. Yet, here we are: 2023 knocking at the door and telling us it’s time to move on.
While some may question if the pandemic could possibly have had a “silver lining,” such as more time with family members, or perhaps even produced a profound sense of thanks or a reinvigorated feeling of joy for the simple pleasures that had been taken for granted or ignored, let’s look to the future with hope. While few would say that 2022 will be missed and certainly, not forgotten, a new year means beginnings and another chance to be more resolute about our resolutions.