Do you feel it? The promise of a New Year? What is it about turning the page on the calendar that makes so many of us downright hopeful? What is it about the dropping ball in Times Square or the simple countdown of the minutes until midnight that fills us with delightful anticipation of things to come – new starts and better beginnings?
Those of you with a practical bent realize New Year’s Eve is just another day. Just like any other. You do not bother with resolutions. Resolutions seem silly – just another promise to be broken. What’s the point?
But for those of us who dream big and believe in the power of new beginnings, New Year’s Eve is magical and full of possibilities. We really do believe in the tradition of resolutions.
What is a resolution? It is a commitment to self, a promise to do better, a vow to live the life you want to live. What could be more exciting? What could be more powerful?
Unfortunately, we often put ourselves last on the list. We might be excellent at keeping our promises to others, but we seldom honor the promises we make to ourselves. We resolve to eat better, exercise more, work less, or work more; and despite our best intentions, those promises often fall by the wayside during the first week of the New Year.
A few years ago I wrote a novel with an interesting premise. Six long-time friends gather together for an annual New Year’s Eve party. This is yearly tradition, and part of the tradition is that they make new resolutions, place them in a wooden box, and then revisit the resolutions of the previous year. Of course, there has to be a twist in a novel, so I added a few big secrets that come out after the entire group is snowed in for a few days. I titled the book Broken Resolutions – so it’s not too difficult to assume that some resolutions will be broken in this group. That is part of the fun in this particular novel.
But in real life, broken resolutions are not fun. They are just disappointing and make us feel like a failure. We make a promise to our self, often proclaim it publicly, and then go about breaking it during the first week of the New Year. Why is that?
For me, there is just something that rebels at rules; even when I am the one making the rule. But the impractical dreamer in me still makes those resolutions. Because impractical dreamers are always hopeful, even if rebellious. So, as the old year comes to a close and a new one approaches, I’m filled with anticipation and hope, and my thoughts turn to resolutions for the New Year. Every year. Time and time again. Perhaps someday this urge will die – when old age approaches and I am bitter and cynical. Maybe then New Year’s resolutions will seem silly and pointless.
But for now, on this New Year’s Eve, I remain hopeful and even a little giddy. Because tomorrow my life starts again.
My resolution? I’m going to write at least five days a week. I’ve even started a Twitter hashtag (#dailywordcount) and a Facebook group (Daily Word Count) an am encouraging other writers to tweet/share their daily word counts. It’s a New Year and we are all going to fill it with wonderful words.
And if I break that resolution – oh well. There’s always next year.
How about you? What is your New Year’s resolution?
Cheryl Shireman is the bestselling author of several novels, including Broken Resolutions, the Life is But a Dream series, and the Cooper Moon series. She is also the author of ten books for toddlers including the eight Let’s Learn About series focusing on different animals and I Love You When: For Girls and I Love You When: For Boys.