If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau
I don’t normally make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve always taken the line that if there was anything I wanted to change, I’d be best to start working on it right away – what’s the point of waiting for the next year to begin? And besides, setting oneself official targets on 1 January is a sure-fire way to invite disappointment come 1 February, right?
Well, maybe right. But I’m giving it a go this year.
Why? Well, over Christmas I’ve been taking stock. Thinking. A life-audit kind of thing. And I don’t like what I’m seeing. Not that I’m that bad, mad or lumpy in any moral or physical sense, but I’ve a feeling that I could be doing better than I am right now.
In fact, I have ten problems.
- I play too much. I spend a lot of time doing things that benefit nobody, poking around on the internet, reading part of a book and putting it down, rearranging stuff in the house but not throwing anything out. Diversions from the business of getting on with life.
- I worry and procrastinate, rather than doing anything I find difficult or awkward.
- I’m good at dreaming, but I don’t do anything to change reality. In my dreams, I’m capable of anything… in reality? That’s why I chose the Thoreau quotation at the top of this post: I need to start putting foundations under my dreams.
- I put too much pressure on myself to get a “lucky break”. I’ve done this both in my career and in my love life, and it only leads to disappointment. But now I’ve got a Kira to help me out with the romantic side, I realise that I can get out of my bad job-related habits too.
- I dwell on missed opportunities.
- I blame others for my failures and go around being bitter and jealous.
- I don’t/ can’t/ won’t give to others, either of money or of time.
- I have become lazy in my personal habits. I don’t do stuff unless I absolutely have to.
- I haven’t created anything, and this bothers me, because I like to see myself as an artistic, creative sort of dude.
- I self-congratulate when I shouldn’t, and I self-denigrate when I shouldn’t.
If these seem a little harsh, I did also write a list of things I’m good at/ can be proud of. But there were more than 10 of those, and as I said, I’m lazy. Anyway, this post is about improving myself, not about patting myself on the back for being awesome already.
And in the interests of non-procrastination, I’ve already forged on ahead and compiled eight resolutions for 2014. Yup, technically that leaves two problems extra, but the two lists don’t correspond exactly so I’m hoping some of these resolutions will solve multiple issues in my life. Besides, nobody wants to be perfect, because that’d be boring, wouldn’t it?
So, let’s be having them, then:
Every day I am going to
- Study a foreign language
- Do one thing to help expand my career
- Stop blaming others and stop being bitter and jealous
Every week I am going to
- Have a conversation with at least one stranger
Every month I am going to
- Read at least one book
This year I am going to
- Learn at least one new skill
- Do 5 significant things to help others (who aren’t friends or family)
- Compose one piece of music and create one piece of visual art
And one final rule
- These are things I’m planning to do. I’ve written them down, and I fully intend to do them all. But should I miss my target with any one of these resolutions, I’m going to pick myself up, dust myself down and keep going.
Wish me luck!
And a happy and prosperous 2014 to y’all!!
When Erik told me about his New Year Resolutions (oooooh, looks serious!), I wasn’t sure how I felt. I’m not big on them, for one reason mostly: They do not work. Year after year, I made resolutions upon the departure of a year and the arrival of a new one. By the end of the first week of January, I would have given up and realised I am not going to change. Not this way, at least. I also realised that it was peer pressure of seeing everyone around me making them that drove me to making up some for myself.
I have to agree with Erik, why should I wait for a new year to change, if ever? I am very self-absorbed as a person and I often think very highly of myself (too highly at times). I have been raised to always remember that there is nothing I can’t reach if I put my mind and efforts to it. Maybe that’s why, growing up, there wasn’t a pie I didn’t have my finger in. I have tried archery, astronomy, tried my best in NILAM (a Malaysian program in school to encourage reading among school children), I have built a robot able to play golf, played a few musical instruments that belong to the Malaysian natives, etc etc. I am sounding like a brag. My apologies. My point is, I have never had a belief that I truly needed a change in myself.
No, I am not perfect, no one is. But the way I perceive myself, I am close enough to perfection that I need not change anything. If anyone else thought otherwise, I would shrug it off and ask why should their opinion of me bother me at all? This is were Erik and I are worlds apart, I have never seen him think so highly of himself as I do. In fact, I think the way I think of him is almost hero-like. Maybe it’s infatuation, but I honestly think very highly of myself and him. I have what people often call, a superiority complex.
As humans, we don’t adapt easily to sudden changes, which is why I believe New Year Resolutions are ineffective. However, I am extremely respectful of people who make them and even more of those who successfully stick by them. As it is, I am extremely proud of Erik, for wanting to change for the better. I even envy it a little, because I am so stuck up in my own “awesomeness” that I cannot fathom why I need to change. I am being extremely honest here, that my superiority complex is so bad that I foresee myself as a high-achiever in the future if I am not one already.
Please don’t judge me, or rather, don’t judge me too harshly. I am as I am, and I believe that changes come gradually. Nothing works overnight, especially things like, “I will stop being so lazy”, “I will shed 20 pounds this year” and “I will be the best person I can be”. I do, however, stand firm on my healthy respect for people who strive for a change. They deserve a lot of respect for the amount of courage. Note too, that I am rather fearful and wary of changes in my life. Perhaps that is why I am somewhat against resolutions for myself.
Let me not rain on your parade however, if you believe you are in need of a change, then go ahead and do. Let resolutions not remain only as dreams or even foundation-less castles in the sky. I wish you the very best of luck. As for me, I am and will always stand strong beside my Erik and supporting him regardless of any resolutions he has expressed all while letting myself change gradually with lessons Life has in store for me.
Happy New Year and have a blessed 2014. 🙂