By Hajia Hadiza Mohammed
Making New Year resolution is an age-old practice where people take decisions about the things they would do in the coming year. We do hear people say in this coming year, I will quit smoking. To some would it would be bye-bye to drinking alcohol. Others may also resolve to do away with drug addiction. While to some others it would be no more womanizing and yet to some it would be to let go off old grudges. In some cases, New Year Resolution may include quitting crime and its collateral anti-social activities. By and large, New Year resolutions are about giving up what is considered old bad habits. However, New Year Resolutions may not necessarily be about dropping bad habits. It may also involve consolidating on ones good habit. A hooky-playing student after strings of bad results may resolve to study harder. And so would an ambitious employee desirous of elevation make a decision to put in more effort and dedication in his job.
Indeed, many people make New Year Resolutions for a positive change in their lives because their attitude and the habits they have acquired have become a stumbling block on their way to success. Some habits like smoking are unhealthy and deadly. Some habits like gambling may be unethical and financially burdensome. Some have adverse social effects while some are immoral and considered infra dig. Indulging in most habits leads to poor job performance and wastages too in terms of time and other resources. And so, most of the resolutions one makes concerning the New Year are geared toward improving ones’ social standing and personal effectiveness.
There are many ways people make these resolutions. Before making these resolutions, many do rigorous soul searching and self-reflections after which they identify the harmful habits that they must let go. Some go for counseling, seek advice from friends, peers and mentors on how to go about it. Some people on their own, resolve willy-nilly never to do that which have been an inhibiting factor in their lives or that which their friends or acquaintances objected to. Some go to the extent fasting and praying and even publicly in a worshipping congregation denounce their old shame-making habits. Some make these decisions, write them down and devise strategies to enforce compliance.
But, it is evident that most these decisions about dos and don’ts in the New Year are mere wishes that never last beyond the first few days of the New Year. This is because, some make the resolutions out of emotion and frustration while some are cajoled and pressured to make them. Making decisions as strong as this requires realistic survey and will power. The motivation should come from within, not of the desire to please others. More importantly, it will require discipline, determination and a good strategy to ensure compliance. Most people make resolutions because they see and hear others do that, not out earnest desire to effect a change of habit or attitude in their lives. When I was a youth I was actively involved in the annual ritual of making New Year resolutions only to flout them midway into the year; so I know what it entails to make them.
While we applaud those who make New Year Resolutions and implement them I must also seek to know what makes New Year Resolution different from other resolutions. Must we wait for the end of the year to make vital decisions concerning our lives? A colleague of mine said that people make New Year Resolutions because the end of the year is regarded as a time of stock taking, sober reflection and personal appraisal. I cannot agree less. This, by implication means that most people live their lives without proper examination. It is recommended by experts that personal examination should be on daily basis for one to function at optimum level. The advantages of doing regular personal self-examination are enormous. Apart from helping in improving ones’ cognitive ability, it helps in goal setting and accomplishment. It makes one environmentally sensitive and responsible. It also makes one develop adaptive qualities and improvement in social relationships. Regular self assessment helps one keep ones’ emotions in check.
In reality, we must realize that time is a continuous phenomenon without beginning or end. The seasons and dates are created by man to help gauge the flow of time. One should not wait for the seasons to make vital decisions for life improvement. On regular basis one is expected to review ones’ life and activities, do critical evaluations and make life-enhancing decisions without which continuous improvement will be hampered. In this part of the world like in the Western World we use the Gregorian calendar which runs from January to December. There is the Ethiopian calendar, the Jewish calendar, the Mayan calendar, the Chinese calendar among others with different circles and end of years.
I will not conclude this piece without asking some fundamental questions. Do you make New Year Resolutions? What are the contents of your resolution? Do you keep your New Year covenants or do you break them and why? What is your Resolution for the year 2021? If you don’t have then I recommend this for you. To me, the best New Year Resolution is to love, forgive and care for others especially the less privileged. This is what is described as the true religion. For this is the resolution than can ensure safety and peaceful co-existence in the land. The best New Year Resolution is to be positive and eschew negative emotions.
Compliments of the season!
Hajia Hadiza Mohammed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org