‘Forget about setting New Year’s resolutions, do this instead!’

Jan 04, 2020
Instead of making New Year's resolutions, May has come up with a better idea. Source: Getty Images

A New Year’s resolution is defined as “a tradition in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.”

This tradition has been carried out throughout the ages from the Babylonians who made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans would each year make promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the medieval era the knights took a vow at the end of the Christmas season every year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.

To this day, millions of people around the world make New Year’s resolutions hoping to spark change. The most popular resolutions include things such as losing weight, getting healthy, learning a new skill or hobby, and quitting smoking. Sometimes those resolutions include undertaking more travel.

I unapologetically admit to never having made a New Year’s resolution in my life. Never ever.

My father would say that this is because I ‘lacked ambition’. In fact, he did say this to me on his death bed. I can still hear him sadly lament, “Pet, you were never ambitious.”

I was 40 years of age at the time, divorced and in charge of two little girls. I was finally at the stage where I had found my niche in the world, my courage, my self-assurance. At last I could respond to a father figure who had always been authoritative and domineering with old-fashioned expectations of a woman’s role in society.

I held my Dad’s hand and replied, “Father Bear, I don’t have to be ambitious to be the best person that I can be. Ambition is not a measure of success.”

There is a school of thought that says that keeping a To-Do list can make everything in your life much more manageable and make you feel grounded. Seeing a clear outline of your completed and uncompleted tasks helps you feel organised and stay mentally focused. Some go even further and say that writing a list of things that you need to accomplish before going to bed each night ensures a good night’s sleep. This is something I vehemently dispute.

Over the years I instead opted to create Tah-Dah lists, a list of achievements from each week. Achievements come in all shapes and sizes, from taking the dog for a walk, washing the curtains, cooking a Thai green curry, or volunteering at Meals On Wheels. Finishing a book, writing a blog and donating to a fundraiser are all worthy accomplishments. There are times when you are under the weather and the simple act of crawling out of bed to cook soft boiled eggs is worth a celebration. My weekly Tah-Dah list celebrates all these accomplishments.

Celebrations are positive, and positives only breed more positives in your life.

Why don’t you have a go at creating your own Tah-Dah list for a week. I have no doubt that you will be amazed by the number of tasks you will have successfully completed. And completed tasks provide satisfaction.

My Tah-Dah lists are not wishful thinking; it’s not about setting myself up for a fall and it’s definitely not because of a lack of ambition. It’s because moving forward is what life is all about, one step at a time, and celebrating each and every day. Make that your New Year’s resolution, why don’t you!

Keen to share your thoughts with other 60-pluses? You can sign up as a contributor and submit your stories to Starts at 60. While you’re at it, why not join the Starts at 60 Bloggers Club to talk to other writers in the Starts at 60 community and learn more about how to write for Starts at 60. Community blogs published on the website go into the draw for some great weekly prizes.

Stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox

Sign up to our daily newsletter for more great stories

Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up