The arbitrary end of the year is here.  I call it arbitrary because it doesn’t coincide with anything in nature or anything organically cultural, it’s just a date on the calendar that people celebrate at this point.  And a time when we set ourselves up to fail.  One of the many reasons I try to avoid it along with the fact that there are too many drunk drivers out and about New Year’s Eve and hung over drivers New Year’s Day.  But to my point.

Regardless of when you think the year ends, November for the Cherokee people, December 31 for White Western culture, and February for the Chinese to name a few, making the transition should be about laying the past to rest and starting a fresh new year.  How you do that makes all the difference.  I have watched year after year as family and friends take this opportunity to make grand resolutions that are completely impractical, set goals for themselves that only an Olympic athlete could achieve and convince themselves that they are going to achieve these things through sheer will power without the need to change their lives in any way.

And of course the inevitable happens.  Within a week to a month they have given up on all of it and perhaps even forgotten that they started in that direction and life goes back to the way it was before.  Which seems harmless on the surface of it and everyone makes light of this practice knowing that achieving or even acting on New Year’s resolutions has a very low chance of ever happening.  However, what is actually going on is self-abuse.  The resolutions we set for ourselves usually fall into two categories:  things we think we should do because other people think we should or things that are dear to our hearts that we truly wish to achieve.  In either case, stating out loud that we are going to do these things tells our hearts/minds/bodies and even soul that we are going to give ourselves this reward.

And what happens when we don’t, we lose confidence in ourselves.  We set ourselves up to fail and we succeed in failing.  We reiterate to ourselves that we are incapable of achieving our dreams or those dreams that have been applied to our lives and we make ourselves less.  And so the year is a failure from the outset and any victories or gains that we make only fill in some of the debt we have created within ourselves.

Choose to do things differently.  This year, make a New Year’s Resolution not to set any goals you can’t achieve and set no goals that don’t come from your own dreams.  Be your own best advocate and make this year a win/win situation by being reasonable and practical.  It’s great to reach for the stars, but at the same time, build a ladder and climb it one rung at a time.