It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and I’m feeling good.
I woke up this morning thinking of the line and as it is the first day of a new year, a day many of us choose feeble attempts to fix what’s wrong in our lives, I suppose it is to be expected. After all, I’m one of those who have made, and broken, more resolutions than I can count only to resort to old habits by the end of the month.
Considering the daily bombardment that tells us what we should or shouldn’t be and how we should or shouldn’t act, wanting to be better is embedded in us, for by improving ourselves, the chance of being accepted by those we perceive as somehow being better than us will increase, right?
If there is any lesson to be learned in our yearly self-improvement resolutions, might it be that resolutions should be made for ourselves? My past has shown repeatedly that resolutions made to improve conditions or behaviors that others may find objectionable are the ones that fail first and lead to further self-condemnation.
Consider someone who loses weight. Socially unacceptable to be overweight, losing enough weight for others to notice becomes fair game to comment on the weight loss. The now slimmer person feels great about themselves until their resolve slips and the pounds creep back. Suddenly everyone who had provided such comments is watching what the person is eating and, behind their backs to be polite, commenting about how fat they are getting again. The Yo-Yo dieter is themselves consumed with disappointment, anger and self-loathing at their lack of willpower to maintain the weight loss.
Or consider a smoker who takes their last puff at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. It might be a few days before those in the smoker’s world notice the lack of tobacco, but when it happens and they comment on it–they all do you know–their comments lead the ex-smoker to non-stop thoughts about how much they want a cigarette which increases the odds they will smoke again. Like the dieter, the minute they pick up a cigarette, people will watch and comment. Once again, the smoker is left with self-hatred and disappointment for succumbing to their addiction once more.
Alcohol abuse, drug addiction… it’s all the same. Changes made because of others are doomed to fail, leading to a spiral of disappointment.
Self-improvement doesn’t happen just because it’s January 1st. There is nothing magical about that date. Whether your resolution is to stop swearing or to lose fifty pounds, a lifetime of bad habits and behaviors may take the rest of your lifetime to control.
What is magical about January 1st is that we believe a new year is a new chance to be better. It’s a reminder that we have the power to change what makes us feel not so good. We, not family, friends or society, can choose to be happy and we have the power to do what it takes to make that happen.
Why should my thoughts matter? Because I have lived it every January 1st for most of my adult life with resolutions made at the new year only to fail soon after. Yes, there has been success on occasion, but looking back, I realize those successes happened because whatever unacceptable behavior I sought to change, I changed for myself. Which leads me to this year’s resolution and my resolve to feel good about myself even though I am far from perfect.
January 1, 2023. It’s a good time to feel good about yourself. January 2, 2023. It’s a good time to feel good about yourself. January 3, 2023. It’s a good time to feel good about yourself. Every day is a good time to feel good about yourself and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
May 2023 be filled with happiness, love, and contentment for you and your family, my friends!