Whenever a year comes to an end, the ‘Clean Slate phenomenon’ occurs, because the moment the clock strikes twelve, the past year’s events are forgotten, forgiven and left behind in the realms of time, even though it was just a few seconds ago.
So, we begin with our so-called clean slates, and start to form our thoughts around larger than life promises and aspirations for the next year. In other words, we sit down and begin to create hokey resolutions, because it makes a lot of sense to actually brainstorm to come up with mawkish goals.
It’s like trying to make our own selves feel guilty and pathetic on purpose, because we all know that we won’t stick to them. For example, I remember keeping a resolution way back in 2009, and I still haven’t stuck to it. My mission was to complete a Triathlon that year, when I didn’t even know how to swim. I still don’t know how to swim. I don’t know why I kept such an aim when I didn’t even know one of its main components.
The trick of the trade lies in keeping something basic and slowly going to their evolved forms as the years pass by but we, being such patient beings, jump directly to such an evolved stage that, forget getting a grasp of it, even the thought of it makes us drowsy and puts us to bed.
Exaggeration sounds amazing in fictional stories and tales, but not when it is incorporated as an element into our list of resolutions. Our parents don’t tell us that we started running the minute we were born, right? They tell us about how we began to crawl (and possibly peed all over the place), and how we took our first step(s) and then became brats by running and hiding near every nook and corner.
At the end of the day, when we can’t keep our word with respect to our yearly goals, it is known and seen as a failure. The thing is, no matter how much we deny the extent of the effect a failure has on us, it does bother us and make us feel sad and ashamed about the fact that we couldn’t do it. After that, we begin to make excuses and justify, to our own selves, as to why we couldn’t do it. There are a lot of things in life which will upset us, why create another portion of it ourselves?
Resolutions like “I’ll go to the Moon this year” can work only if you’re an astronaut; “I’ll buy the most expensive car this year” can work only if you’re earning, or if you’re a rich kid or someone related to the Ambanis. You can begin with the first stage, by keeping goals on these lines –
“I’ll study hard and do well in science to make my foundation strong, to be able to work towards my dream of becoming an astronaut.”
“I’ll work hard so that I get a good job, which will help me in fulfilling my desire to buy the most expensive car later in the future.”
Makes more sense now, right?
I am guilty of indulging in some hokey ones myself, but I tend to experience shame and guilt very fast. Hence, I stopped keeping these exaggerated ones a long time ago.
Have hopes and visions in your eyes, but don’t fly so high - start from the ground level first.
Imagine December 31st (it could be a slightly earlier date too) as the longest snake (from the game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’), which pushes you right back to the start, because you kept your aim so high that it was out of your reach.
Another thing is that I don’t get why people wait for the end of the year to pen down some of their aspirations.
Anyway, the point is – Make goals, but don’t make unrealistic ones like “I’ll make time stand still this year”; try to come up with something which you will stick to, so that you don’t disappoint your own self, because self-disappointment is like a really pointed arrow which enters right through the centre of your heart. Just kidding, that was a bit too much, but it really does sting. I still haven’t learnt how to swim, but I’ve definitely learnt to not participate in the event(s) of writing hokey resolutions.
Make them today, tomorrow or on December 31st – it doesn’t matter. What matters is your will to accomplish them. Stick to them, and they will stick with you for the rest of your lives.
My current resolution is to come out of my comfort zone and start becoming a bit more social. What’s yours?
Photography By: Kanika Narang