Tuesday 10 January 2017

Time for pain

Christmas with all its excesses becomes the last stop on the route to self-improvement. This seasonal splurge seems designed to usher in a period of self-disgust, exacerbated by too many puddings / presents / cheese / glasses of Irish cream. As the decorations come down, you long to emerge like a butterfly from the Christmas-chrysalis with a cleaner body and a purer purpose. January inevitably becomes the anointed month to slough off the extra pounds, change your ways and build a brighter, better future.

Orange butterfly on a paving stone
Emerging from the excesses of Christmas...
As human beings, it seems we need structure, if only to keep the messy amorality of life in check. With the start of a new year, resolutions provide a roadmap to a new, improved self. Often such resolutions require discipline and self-denial, but all of us know a little bit of pain is the price you pay for a higher pleasure. Structure equals control over laziness, small addictions (in my case, chocolate) and other character defects.

At the end of it all, is that shining example of a better 'you'. It is actually quite heartening that so many of us remain motivated by the idea of improving ourselves, even if it does require some mental self-flagellation along the way (spin classes, no sweet treats, a 'dry' January). At the heart of every New Year's resolution is a yearning to grow and improve. Part of the human condition is never to stand still, to resist the limitations of the present.

I can't remember the resolutions I set myself at the beginning of last year, or even if I achieved them, and yet I still find myself gripped by January's mood of purposefulness. This year will be better than the last, I tell myself. Evidently, I still haven't lost my ability to dream...

My New Year's resolutions are:

  • Think positive
  • Be less stressed, see the bigger picture
  • Manage my time better
  • Write 500 words a day on my new novel (Monday to Friday)

What are yours?

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