New Year’s evolution

Right about now, dozens of people just like you all around the world are making their New Year’s resolutions, setting out to learn new skills, to be more generous and kind, to be more assertive, to take better care of themselves: in short, they are resolving to make better use of this precious gift we call life. Sadly, not only are these people dorks, they are also doomed to fail. Depending on the analytical methodology used, studies have shown that between 100 and 107 percent of those who make resolutions for the new year fail to keep them. Part of the problem is that often, there’s a wide gulf between well-meaning intention and reality — people simply set themselves unrealistic goals. But it’s also about psychology. By “resolving” to do something, what could be a process where we discover the inspiration and strength within ourselves to flourish more fully is instead transformed into an onerous obligation weighing heavily upon us, where any faltering along the path becomes a new source of guilt and shame, a new sign of our personal weaknesses and moral failings, and a new reason to once again collapse in defeat and abandon our naive dreams. So this year, instead of making resolutions, perhaps we should go a little easier on ourselves and make New Year’s suggestions.

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