I wrote in a previous article that there is no difference between December and January. People in ancient times never keep calendars, yet they were able to take note of changes in days, months, and years by observation. They observed that it takes about 24 hours for the earth to make a full rotation (and called that ‘day’); the number of days it will take the moon to circle the earth is about 29.5 days (which is called ‘month’), and it will take about 365 days for the earth to revolve around the sun (which we call ‘year’).
The question then is, “What is new about all these spins, rotations or revolutions? These solar elements have been doing these for ages. And there is no difference between one revolution and another – inanimate elements like the solar system are super predictable. What is then the significance of the rotations of the earth, moon, and sun to us as humans?
Significance of Year Endings and Beginnings
The revolutions of the earth, moon, and sun, and all the other solar elements communicate changes in weather conditions, which is known as seasons. There are four general types of such seasons; Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. According to the meteorological definition, Winter runs from December 1 to February 28 for countries within this region; and this happens to be the coldest time of the year. Seasons vary with countries and regions. However, changes in season (especially the end and start of a New Year) communicate to people all over the world some significance:
- Survival: For many, the fact that they were able to pull through another 365 days is a big deal. This may explain why in some orthodox settings, they call out names of friends and family members who could not make it, and observe some moment of silence in their honour.
- Control: As humans, we are naturally controlling beings. We look at the year that is wrapping up and begin to wonder how many things have gone out of control in the course of the year. The new year, for us, is an opportunity to muster more control over all the aspects of our lives. A reason many people make resolutions and set goals.
- Growth: One more thing that the new year reminds us of is the fact that we are getting older. A year is 365 days (that is 8,760 hours; OR 525,600 minutes; OR 31,536,000 seconds). So, the year is a measure of life – it helps to know how far we have come in life. Now you know why many are usually in a state of despair when it seems their expectations are dashed. To such, it is as if it is a wasted year.
If this is how important the year ending is, the question then is
Why is it that New Year Resolutions “Don’t Work“
- They are not from the core of the being. We are human beings and not human doings. Focusing one’s attention on what to do rather than who to become is a futile endeavour. Who you are will always trump what you do – it is just a matter of time. Until we deal with this core, activities will not necessarily yield productivity. Wishes do not make for wisdom.
- They only respond to the euphoria of the moment. When the euphoria wanes, the real person will manifest.
- They are unrealistic. For example, someone who needs to leave home for work by 5:30 am (Yes, people who live in busy cities like Lagos, Nigeria do that!) sets a goal to workout 30 minutes every morning. How much time of sleep do you suppose you will get? And, will you also not become burdened by the guilt of not being able to keep up with some more important commitments?
- They are not backed by science. Not only are many of the resolutions people make unrealistic, but they are also not based on facts. For example, someone may set a goal of weight loss, without a corresponding goal in increasing sleep hours, healthier eating habit, and cutting time spent on gadgets or sitting on a spot.
- They want to go it alone. You can only go so far when you go alone. Of course, it is possible to just make up your mind and be what you want to be. But in an interview with Dr Paul Marciano, one of the leading experts in behaviour change, he said that it is best to share your goals with friends and family. According to him, “It’s easy to break a promise to yourself, but far harder to admit it to a friend.”
Now, you see why only 8% of people achieve their New Year resolutions. This is largely because it is not about the goals, but the person making those goals. Goals don’t score themselves; someone must score those goals. If the person is not in the right frame of mind and not equipped with the required skill-set, there is nothing new about the year, except for a change in the calendar.
In my next article, I will be showing you how to outsmart this scam called New Year, and reposition yourself so that you can tread the path that leads to constant and never-ending improvement in the coming year and the days ahead.
Dele Ayo Bankole