New Year’s Resolution For 2011: Live In The Present

New Year's ResolutionsThe celebration of the start of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon some 4,000 years ago. But the Mesopotamians celebrated New Year’s Day in March, following the spring equinox. The Romans continued to observe New Year’s Day in late March, but because the calendar fell out of synch with the sun, the Roman Senate, in 153 BC, declared Jan. 1 as the beginning of the New Year, so as to set the calendar right. Traditionally, one of the customs used to mark the end of the year is to make a New Year’s resolution. This tradition also dates back to the early Babylonians, whose most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. Today, a New Year’s resolution is usually a commitment one makes to achieve a specific goal during the coming year. For example, to stop smoking, work less, or spend more time with family. In theory, these resolutions are put into effect on New Year’s Day and are upheld until the set goal has been achieved. But how many of us are able to keep our New Year’s resolutions? Do we find it difficult to keep our resolutions because we’ve chosen the wrong time of year or is it because the concept of making resolutions is itself a paradox? If we had the discipline to see our resolutions through, we wouldn’t need to make them in the first place. Moreover, making resolutions that are never realized or are broken shortly after they are set naturally leads to frustration. After many years of failing miserably to keep up with my resolutions, I have learned that the best way to follow through this year is to live in the present. Children have no problem living in the moment, but as we get older, many of us forget how to stay completely in the present. We keep thinking about the past and rehearsing the future. Then if we are lucky, someone or something reminds us that life can only be lived in the here and now. We are most happy and productive when we are living in the present. My suggestion for this New Year is to follow the wise words of Henry David Thoreau: “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.”