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Have You Made Your Resolutions Yet?
January 2009

"What's your new year resolution?" The paper-thin girl clad in red mini chirped sweetly; her belly almost touching her back. I flinched, trying to come up with something witty. I looked eagle-eyed at her again, scrutinizing her closely and thought starving myself to attain this tummy tight perfection is undoubtedly not on my list.

Why is it customary to talk about resolutions at the end or the beginning of each year? How can you indulge in the so called vices, gambling, drinking, smoking, or over eating on 31st and swear them to be your last or the bygone memories of yesterday on 1st? Leaving something altogether or adopting something suddenly involves huge changes in your lifestyle, thinking, and your total being. Someone has summed it up very adeptly "Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits."

I too think resolution is a word that is often misused to continue with some of your weaknesses and shortcomings and find solace in the idea that you are planning to do something about it. What is often missing is the determination. After few months, you get fed up and abandon your resolution until next year when you vow again to start over. This is a vicious circle leaving you with nothing but a feeling of frustration, inadequacy, failure and probably low self-esteem. What's the guarantee that you won't end up breaking your carried forward resolution yet again the next year? Moreover, if I want to do a thing, why do I need to declare it to the world and make a big deal out of it?

I have never made any resolutions so far in my life. There are pacts that I would like to make with myself but I never do. The list is long and the time is short. Maybe I'm lazy or just plain afraid. Where do I start? Do resolutions involve a long term commitment? If I get bored after a time, am I allowed to break by resolution? Does it make me weak in character? Can't you simply go out and indulge in whatever catches your fancy rather than first making a resolution to do it? Is it bad to act on the spur of the moment?

Can't resolutions be made for life? Is it necessary to adapt a new resolution every year? If I make the resolution to spend more quality time with my daughter this year, should I resolve to increase the "quality" in it next year or the "time" I spend?

I want to tuck my daughter safely into bed each night. I want to stand outside her classroom on her first day of playschool. I want to be there to applaud her on all her big and small achievements. I want to be there with reassuring words or nods when she is troubled. Do I need a resolution to be able to do this?

I want to be happy and I want to be loved. Do I still need a resolution? Can a simple resolution help me achieve these goals? Aren't these something that people consider as fate or can you pave your way to mental happiness and love? Do I get a new heart or new emotions or a new soul to accomplish my resolution?

After almost half a minute pause that followed after the question was directed at me, I was still clueless as to what would be a good resolution to declare (rather than to make). Perhaps I was the only one who was 'resolutionless' in that room. Without batting my eye, I cleared my throat and replied, "Eat more, drink more, sleep more." As I walked away, I smiled profusely at the shouts of "Good resolution" that followed!

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.
- Ellen Goodman

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