Happy new year to everyone! It’s so strange to write 2016 at the beginning of my journal entries every time I write in my journal. The stranger thing is how quickly 2015 has gone by and how things have changed. 2015, like any other year, has been a year with ups and downs, successes and hardships. But all in all, it was a great year like the many before it.
With each new year comes the sentiments of opening a new book, turning over a fresh leaf and starting with a blank canvas litter our social media and conversations. New Year’s resolutions have become almost obligatory, from trying to lose weight to eating healthier to even swearing less when you’re behind the wheel. I remember in elementary school when the first writing activity of the year would be to write about our New Year’s resolutions.
Over the years, my priorities and goals changed. I would always rely on the safe but standard “be a better kid” and the questionable “get smarter”. As I grew up and self image began to plummet, I would tell myself that I wanted to lose 10 pounds by this date, eat healthier, work out more and clear up my skin. But time and time again I would lose track and frankly give up. The white flag would go up around February/March, and by my birthday (in April) I would be hating myself for being lazy and scolding myself for biting off more than I could chew.
I have become submissive to this fact, not to say that I am weak, lazy, or lack motivation. But there is a kernel of truth my scoldings. Telling myself to lose 10 pounds is ideal, and I could definitely stand to work out more so as to help myself lead a healthier lifestyle. Getting smarter is great too, but behind this “smartness” is the necessities of hard work, effective time management and motivation.
But beyond this, my goal every year was to be a better person than I was the year before. This year, I wanted to take a different approach to this.
I look back on the year that has passed and I think back on what my weaknesses and shortcomings were. There were definitely scenarios that I could have handled better, words I shouldn’t have said, and fights that I shouldn’t have picked. All of these incidents have become learning pages in an ongoing book, a story of my life. And while I had this resolution last year to be a better person, people fail. As humans, we all fail, and that’s life.
But when the new year comes, we can’t rip out the bad pages, throw them out in hopes of forgetting the past and pretend like they didn’t exist. We need to learn from them and build on them. We can’t be complacent, especially in this goal to being a better person. So this means that each year shouldn’t be viewed as a blank canvas or empty book. Your canvas is still filled with marvelous colours and your book is a story in progress.
Life isn’t an Etch a Sketch, where we shake away our sketches because we aren’t satisfied and start over from scratch. The past is the past, and there is nothing that we can do to change it. But what we can change is how we look at the future. That, and learning from our past mistakes, can propel us into better things.
Take your resolutions with your past in mind, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it. That being said, also make sure that your resolutions are attainable.
Finally, have a great year. It’s called “Happy New Year” for a reason: be happy that you’ve made it to see a new year. Learn from your mistakes and move forward bravely and boldly.
You can do it.