We all have resolutions every New Year, but keeping them proves to be the hardest task. I was at the gym this morning, and it was almost impossible to find a treadmill for my regular morning cardio. The village cottage, which houses the gym, was swamped with happy and visibly resolute individuals, ready to face the new year with clear goals in mind. I know more than half of them, and I also know their shallow devotion, too. This show of force will only be short-lived. By the end of the month, the number SHALL start shrinking, will substantially dwindle by mid-February and will simple vanish by early March.
Then, the gym will be quiet again—left alone for the convenience of some of us who have long seen the morning exercise as a part of our daily routine, rather than a subconscious terrain to test one’s faith. I use this as an example to show how unrealistic goals are just that: unrealistic! Many experts concede the reason why most New Year’s resolutions melt away too quickly is that they’re usually made out of skin-deep emotions. Many people are mainly motivated by following a trend instead of trying to understand or take a closer look at their own human potentials.
If the goal was made out a pragmatic reasoning, I can guarantee you by the end of the year, you would have been quite satisfied. Instead of setting out to publish your great novel this year, you could water down your goal to simply starting to write it this year. Instead of trying to be NUMBER ONE at the workplace, you might set your goal to be consistent at the top of your game.
Instead of being cunning and selfish in the quest to have it all, you might want to opt for a change of attitude, for being more cooperative because darkened egocentrism blurs your intellectual probity and turns you into a lost-petty-bourgeois arriviste.
It’s okay to be ambitious. It’s perfectly normal to set your eyes on the heavenly prize. After all, we all know what would work best for a healthy living. It’s NOT okay, however, to think you can get there at the expense of others. Rusty thinking like this will undoubtedly render your New Year resolutions very difficult to achieve. Life is not a one-way, paradisiacal highway. Being smart has nothing to do with the ability to hoodwink your friends and associates. Intellectual ruthlessness has always been a recipe for disaster. People will simply oppose or shun your unwanted persona all together.
A little bit of pragmatism will go a long way in helping you write or rewrite your New Year’s resolutions in an achievable fashion. It would have been wiser if the folks at the gym were more realistic. Instead of trying to come every morning for one hour, they could have decided to come at least 3 days a week for 40 minutes. This would be far more doable. So, be humble and be pragmatic!
Dr. Ardain Isma—author, educator
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