Do you make resolutions? I’m going to be kind of wishy-washy in my answer here and say “sort of.” But I’ll explain.
Being Jewish, I have two new years—the secular one in January and the Jewish one in the fall. Typically, I distinguish between the two by using the one in January to make external resolutions and the one in the fall to make internal ones.
The external resolutions are easy to make, and equally easy to break, which is why I haven’t made any in several years. For me, they tend to be things like eating healthier (chocolate is healthy, right?), getting more exercise, organizing closets, etc.
Making those resolutions are important, sure, but I can make them at any time, and usually do. They end up morphing themselves into to-do lists, which I post on my fridge and tackle as I get to them—my saving grace is that I don’t date them, so no one really knows when I wrote it. J
The internal resolutions are significantly harder to make, but just as easy to break. I make them every year. The period between our Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and our Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, we have to acknowledge our sins and apologize for them—to ourselves, to God and to others. To me, part of that apology is trying to not repeat the sin; apologizing for being mean to someone and then being mean to them again (or others) negates that apology, in my opinion. So I, and many, many others, try to do better.
Taking stock of yourself and determining what you’ve done well and what you haven’t is a difficult process and fills me with guilt. I often say I hate this time of year. It’s not because I don’t want to be nicer (I do) or even that I’m embarrassed to apologize (I’m not). It’s just that constantly telling myself all the things I’m doing wrong is not something that helps my self-confidence.
And maybe that’s why I make to-do lists rather than secular resolutions. I save my energy for the internal changes I need to make. I’m a work in progress, and those resolutions might take awhile.