Posts tagged “New Year’s

A New Year

New Day

It is that time of year. That is, time for a new one. A new year.

New Year was never a big deal in my family. We had three holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. If you discern a Christian faith-based theme you’ve got it right. God’s love, God’s forgiveness, and thanks be to God. That was about all that merited big celebrations and brouhaha in our home.

Other annual celebrations – birthdays, anniversaries, a new year – well, they never quite made the cut.

Part of that was likely due to my parents midwestern and Depression-era roots. Another day was just another day. The sun will come up. There will be work to be done. There will be mouths to
feed, clothes to wash, bills to pay. Just like the day before.

That may seem curmudgeonly if not depressing to some, but there was a flip-side to this practical and seemingly unsentimental view of life that is both liberating and exciting.

One the one hand, every day is the same day. But on the other hand, every day is its own day. A new day, if you will perhaps even a new year.  The flip side of “another day is just another day” is this: “every day merits its own celebration.” No need to wait for a birthday to celebrate your life. No need for an anniversary to celebrate your marriage. No need for a new calendar to celebrate past accomplishments or to set new goals. You have the opportunity to do each one of those things every day! Why pack them all in one? What are you going to do with the other 364?

For Mom and Dad, this way of thinking was particularly applicable for resolutions, something we commonly associate with a New Year. If you want to do something – set a goal, accomplish a dream, make a change, quite a bad habit, start a good one – shoot, you can do that any day! You can do that today! Why wait for a “special day” to make that happen? Before there was a Nike, there was a Mom and Dad who would say that if you wanted to do something, well, “just do it!”

So it is in that spirit that I write to all those celebrating the New Year with their lists of goals and resolutions – good luck! I hope you achieve them all. But know this. There is a good chance that you’ll fall short in one or more (all?). But that’s ok. Because there is always tomorrow. And you can try again. And again. The sun will come up. There will be work to be done. There will be mouths to feed, clothes to wash, bills to pay. Just like the day before. But there’s no need to wait for another year to roll by. You can try it again tomorrow. And the next day.

Similarly, for those who have “given up” on New Year’s resolutions, take heart. Resolutions aren’t contingent on January 1 st . You can make that resolution any time. Today, in fact! Yes, you’ll likely fall short, just like those who woke up January 1 st clinging to their resolutions with an earnest intensity only to see them in tatters a month later. That’s ok too. You too, can try again tomorrow. Or the next day.

So Happy New Year. Because every day is a new day. Every day is a New Year.

A resolution to change how I think, not what I do

So you have a New Year’s resolution?  I do.  And it was inspired in no small measure by my daughter who is resolved to focus in 2012 on “quality, not quantity” and my son whose resolution is less tech and more touch.

This year I’m resolved to change how I think about people – people I know, people I see, and the people I never see but reach through a career in communications.

I resolve to not think of people based on what they do.  I don’t agree with the old saying “you are what you eat.”  People are much more than their diet.  And I’ll dare to challenge Aristotole that a person is “what they do every day.”  A person is more than a collection of habits.  I resolve not to think of people based on what they have.  People are more than rich or poor.  They are more than their medical condition or position of authority.  I resolve to not define people by what they can do for me.  People are more than clients or business partners or even friends.

In business and life it is so easy to think of people as a commodity, a label, a category.  The people – and businesses – that I admire and respect most think better than that.  They don’t view their customers, neighbors, and friends that way.

So here’s a resolution for 2012.

A resolution to always remember that every person is sacred.  And regardless of their habits, possessions or what they can do for me or us … each merits respect, patience, understanding, mercy and love.

Happy New Year.

Assessments, Predictions and Resolutions – Happy New Year!

December is the month to look back, pretend to see forward, and resolve that the things we’ve failed miserably to accomplish in the past will somehow — with a mix of grit, will, and magic — finally happen.

It is the time we assess, predict, and resolve.

First, there are the assessments.  For some reason they follow the decimal system.  We come up with endless ‘top ten’, top twenty’, and ‘top one hundred lists.’   Of the ‘top ten’ claims and lists I’ve seen, the most audacious is that of  They claim to have the ‘top ten of everything in 2010.’  According to ‘everything’ conveniently falls into less than 50 categories.


So here’s an interesting way to spend (waste?) an hour of your time.  Google “top ten for 2010”.  You probably won’t have time to go through the 8+ billion entries.  But along the way you’ll find the top ten buzzwords of 2010.  Can you say ‘vuvuzela?’  There is  everything from a list of the top comedy movies to a list of the top ten depression blogs.  I love Google!

Then there are the predictions.

I find the urge to predict the future peculiarly interesting.  We know ‘next year’ predictions rarely come true.   There’s always something we didn’t see.  Some event no one could predict. Unconvinced?  Read J. Conboy’s piece on the ‘worst predictions for 2010.’  The Google Wave that never came ashore.  The netbook sales that never happened.  The jobs that never appeared.

We know (at least I do) that when we say this stuff it amounts to a wild-assed guess.  So we package our predictions instead as ‘bold’.  Bold means it is a real crap shoot.

When we come to grips that we are much better at taking stock of what was than predicting what will be, we turn to the ‘resolution.’  Specifically, the New Year’s Resolution.

There are many definitions of resolution.  You can look it up (or click here).  But the New Year’s Resolution usually follows this one:  “the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure.”

The New Year’s Resolution is typically personal.  We resolve to do this, to achieve that, to become something (or someone) else.  It is as if we’ve admitted that we can’t predict the future and have little control over what is ‘out there’ …  so at least we’ll make a stab at regaining some portion of self, some piece of dignity, some glimmer of a more hopeful lifestyle.

So we resolve.  And most of us fail.

Actually, those who keep statistics on such stuff say that only 46% succeed past six months (I would have guessed a higher failure rate).  And those who study this also claim that regardless of whether you keep a resolution or not, simply the exercise of trying makes a difference.

So we try again.  Knowing that next year there’s a very good chance we’ll be back wrestling with the same old issue, striving for the same elusive goal.  But that’s ok.

So here’s to 2011.  And to never giving up on making resolutions even when we know the risk of failure is high.

Happy New Year.