It is the beginning of a brand new year. For me, one of the most exciting times is that transition from one major time period to another. For example, for as long as I can remember, I always stay up till after midnight on my birthday so I can ‘feel’ that change from one year into another. I also love the countdown on Old Year’s night into the New Year. I am unable to describe the euphoria I feel as I recognize that I have been blessed to see another year.
A major component of the energetic, effervescent emotional milieu is the sobering thought of newness. Yes, I did say ‘sobering’ because all of a sudden one becomes aware of the limitless possibilities of a new year. It is as though the waves of time have ebbed and flowed and washed away all the former experiences (good and bad) and left a clean slate upon which anything can be written.
In addition to being sobering, this thought of perpetual newness can also be stifling. There are so many possibilities, so many ways of doing things differently with the hope of improved outcomes; so many words to share with friends and loved ones who, like us, have been blessed to see a new year; so many goals to be set and resolutions to be made. All of these “so many’s” can leave us paralyzed in the same way a child stands transfixed in the entrance of a mega toy store.
However, if we manage these emotions appropriately, then we become stimulated to become better versions of ourselves. We begin to think in terms of our physical health and finally decide to obey the doctor and start to exercise and increase our intake of fruits and vegetables and reduce salt and unhealthy fats. We approach our fiscal health with gusto and set out a plan to save a particular percentage of our income monthly in order to reach some lofty goal we set. We decide that our relationships are indeed worth the effort and determine to be the best wives, fathers, brothers, employees or parishioners that have ever lived. We make resolutions in order to make the most out of the year.
This year, I resolve to do nothing! Why? Here is why. According to the dictionary, a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something”. I have discovered that making a resolution cannot get me to the place I wish to be or to accomplish the goals or secret dreams of self-actualization which are my bedfellows. They say that misery loves company so I am grateful to the scholars at the University of Scranton who have consoled me. They have discovered that only eight per cent of individuals ever achieve their resolutions. Whilst being in the majority certainly is comfortable, not much is accomplished within one’s comfort zone.
I am going to be a maverick and make no resolutions this year. Did I just make a resolution? Be that as it may, I have been reintroduced to the concept of commitment, and what an exciting prospect it is. Commitment, according to the dictionary, is “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or an activity”. Being committed is the key. Allow me to make the distinction with an overly dramatic illustration.
One of my resolutions this year could be to climb Mount Everest. (Those that know me well know that resolution is one of the things that more than likely will never happen in my life.) That resolution will not get me anywhere. However, if I am committed to climbing the mountain, I find a flight on the internet and some accommodation; I seek out appropriate clothing; I start to save in order to get there and the list goes on and on. You see, commitment precipitates action, and actions lead to accomplishment.
Thus, I am committed to different things this year. And so as to avoid another mistake many with good intentions make, the number of things to which I commit will be small. Trying to do too many things inevitably leads to frustration, and at my age, that is not an emotion that will benefit my arteries or my liver! On a serious note, when we find ourselves over-committed we become inefficient as we are spread too thinly. I believe it is better to do a few things well than to have our paws dipped in so many activities that we are mindlessly busy and walk around in a haze of fatigue and perpetual non-accomplishment.
By the time I die, I hope to have left an indelible mark on the pages of history even if it is only in the books of my children’s lives. It is so important to discover that purpose for which we were created and work towards becoming the best at that. If we were all created to do the same thing, then so many millions of us would not be needed. Maybe there would be the need for just four for each specific task in case one became ill. In that case, there would be substitutes and the world would continue to spin. No! Each of us has been designed to do particular things in unique ways for the benefit of everyone else.
How do we find those things to which we should be committed? I suggest asking the Creator, God to show us why He created us in the first place. The way to determine the best way to utilize a manufactured item is to ask the manufacturer. There is also value in getting the opinion of trusted friends and family members. One thing I can suggest without being obvious is that your destiny involves something that you are good at, something that you enjoy doing, and it serves others.
So, if you are doing something that you dread doing every day perhaps you need to be committed to something else!
(Rénee Boyce is a medical doctor, a wife, a mother and a Christian, who is committed to Barbados’ development. Email:[email protected])