It is a New Year and like most people I make a New Year’s resolution.
The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates back to the time of ancient Babylon and the Roman Empire. It has continued through the ages.
I have never been a big celebrator of the New Year. Through most of my younger days I was always working.
Anyone who has ever played in a working band, full or part time, knows that New Year’s Eve is your biggest night of the year. You usually get paid twice your normal rate if not more, sometimes much more.
So from teenager and into my late twenties I was always working New Years Eve.
When I was married with children and had backed off the music profession my wife was in the food service industry (waitress) and again New Year’s Eve was one of the biggest nights of the year, next to Mother’s Day.
This time I was home with the kids and my wife was working so we never really got caught up in the whole party until you puke scene of New Year’s Eve.
As I continued to age the excitement (for lack of a better term) of New Year’s Eve and Day has diminished.
I use to tell my son, “You know if they said OK all debts, errors and mistakes are erased and everything that isn’t right is fixed, I’d see a reason to party.”
Nowadays if I see the ringing in of the New Year it’s because my wife or I managed to stay awake in front of the TV.
The big deal for me about New Year’s Day is that it’s a day off work. That’s about it.
So what about the New Year’s resolution?
I mentioned earlier the tradition started with the ancient Babylonians who at the start of their new year, that coincided with the Vernal Equinox, would make promises to their gods. These promises were generally promises to be better people, some sort of self improvement type deal.
That’s what we do now. We make resolutions to somehow improve ourselves during this New Year. We resolve to lose weight, exercise more, be a nicer person, etc.
Most of us fail at these resolutions, mainly because we lack the “resolve” to follow through when we realize the resolution was easier said than done.
We lack the understanding that to succeed at these resolutions we need to change our habits. But really deep down in our hearts we didn’t want to change, we just got caught up in the moment. It sounded good and felt good at the time we said it.
Something as simple as losing weight is very hard to do unless you realize you have to change your eating habits and to do that you have to really want it. It’s tough.
You have to reaffirm and strengthen your resolve to succeed every day.
Many of us will fail at our resolutions because we set unrealistic goals and many of us will fail because the resolution requires patience, something we lack as a society today.
Goals like” I am going to lose fifty pounds this year” fail when after a week of depriving ourselves of sweets and high calorie treats we only lose a quarter of a pound, so we just give up. It’s too much work. We don’t realize that like a rocket ship lifting off the launch pad, most of the energy is spent in the first few minutes of the flight.
We expend all that energy just to get off the ground but when we haven’t made it to the moon right away we just give up and look for something easier. We don’t realize that the further we travel, the higher we climb, the more we escape the pull of gravity that with each day it gets easier and easier to reach our goal.
What is my New Year’s resolution?
When I was younger I never made any. What do you need to change about yourself when you are young? My weight was never an issue. I smoked but quitting was something I wasn’t interested in doing until I got older.
As I aged, my family grew and so did my responsibilities. I progressed with my non music career and the financial rewards increased but so did the financial commitments.
I started to realize I needed to build college funds and retirement funds as well as pay for the house, the car and all that goes with being a responsible adult.
But business was growing and so were my funds.
So my New Year’s resolution was always this, “I am going to make more money this year than last year.”
That was it and each year it came true and each year the stress levels grew with the money. Each year I kept making the same resolution.
Along came 2008.
The business started to decline. I kept making the same resolution but now I was “failing”. The stress was increasing as much as the business was decreasing.
Finally after some health issue where stress was a big contributor I realized that this resolution sucks. Where has is gotten me, in the hospital.
From that day on I make one New Year’s resolution and only one. It’s one I need to work on every day. If I keep this one resolution and work on it every day there is no need for any other resolutions.
So what is it?
It is this.
“This year I am going to be happier than I was last year.”
Kind of vague and kind of arbitrary, but I think I am mature enough and honest enough to be able to honestly answer myself when I ask this question throughout the year. “Will it make me happy; will I find peace and contentment in my decision?”
I am not talking about will it satisfy some superficial, infantile, spur of the moment gratification.
I have to be able to honestly say this is what I want and a day, week, month, year and decade from now I’ll be glad I did it. I don’t want to look back and say “Gee, I wish I would have done that.”
Like any resolution this one takes work, good habits, discipline and honesty.
I fail but I don’t give up.
So Happy New Year everyone, stay honest and stay happy.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.