Janus: The two-faced Roman god of beginnings and transitions; with one face looking forward, and the other looking back. Also the god after whom the month of January is named.
On this, the beginning of the month of his namesake, I look back to the year that was 2013 in my home that is the Philippines: Record-breaking in many ways; and not necessarily for the good. Record-breaking floods, corruption, greed, storms; personal and natural.
Our mettle was tested, we endured great shaking; and those who held fast came out stronger.
It was also, however, a year of record-breaking breakthroughs for me: In work, friendships and familial relationships. And for this, I am thankful.
I look forward to 2014, and I wish I could say with any certainty whatsoever that it will be a year free from great trials and record-breaking spirit breakers.
But I can’t. None of us can.
But I can hope and believe that it will be. I can stay as positive as my own limited human spirit allows me to be. I can focus on enduring, and developing an even stronger, more persistent nettle.
I can commit to not giving up; to developing a “stickitoitivity” and tenacity possessed by that good old dog with a bone.
I do not like to “make resolutions” or big statements of “I shalls and I shants” at the start of each year, for I find that these all too quickly fall by the wayside as the calendar rolls around and the new hope and idealism that generally accompany January give way to the romanticism that marks February. Just about everything – even things we have deemed ugly and needing change – looks good with rose-colored lenses, after all.
Instead, I RESOLVE.
Or REVOLT, as the situation requires.
Although resolution implies the act of resolving, merely making one is no guarantee – especially if it is simply a part of a New Year tradition. Speaking forth your resolutions becomes nothing more than lip-service designed to plump up your ego or assuage your conscience if there is no follow-through. Writing resolutions down is a mere waste of paper if action is remiss. These are part of a good start. But beginnings are only as fruitful as their end result. Outcome is the goal, and the path between start and finish is paved with willful determination. Or at least it must be.
RESOLVE. Commit to change, and DO IT.
Perhaps some of my favorite definitions of the word are: To change or convert; to bring to a usually successful conclusion; and – decidedly my most favorite one – to render parts of (an image) visible and distinct.
What do you see in your head? What is the image you have of yourself? Of your life situation? Whatever this image, whatever you would like to see, do what it takes to make it come to pass; do what is required to make it visible and distinct in your life.
Then there is revolution. The things that require radical change from the roots. The things in our life that necessitate an upheaval that goes beyond simple adjustment or superficial change. That toxic relationship in which you have been since countless New Year’s ago, for instance. That bad habit you have been meaning to ditch for forever and a day, for another. These require REVOLT. And guts of steel to do it.
By all means, make you lists and grand declarations if you have to. But by even greater means, DON’T STOP THERE.
ACT. Break away from the same-old-same-old pitfall of talking the talk without walking the walk.
We all know the highly overused cliché. All together now, with feeling: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
ENDURE. Hang in there, however you possibly can.
We need to keep in mind – ever before our consciousness – that whatever is worth achieving is also worth the effort and the sacrifice. This should be our mantra, as we work towards bringing about change, drastic or otherwise.
GUTS. GUMPTION. These will turn things around for us and achieve the change we desire in 2014.
And as we resolve or revolt, there will be times we will have do so alone. But most times we do so with the support of those nearest and dearest to us. And sometimes, even with help from strangers and those for whom we have no particular fondness (I refrain from using the word enemies so early in the year. Maybe in two weeks or so. Smile!)
This is one of life’s comforts: The fact that we do not have to always go through it alone. Those with whom we journey help us to endure. They teach us valuable life-lessons along the way. They make the trek all the more interesting and – hopefully – all the more bearable and worthwhile. They are the sugar to our spice; the sweet to our bitter; or the other way around, as the case may be. They are those for whom we are thankful, new year after new year.
Looking to the recent past, and to the future that unfolds with the month of the god with two faces: Let us look back and learn; let us look forward and hope; let us look to the now, and endure. And let us change and grow throughout this whole process.
Cheers to 2014!
Top 5 tips towards sticking to your resolutions, according to Lyndsey Oliver, co-founder of gender balance consultancy Female Quotient, and Guardian Professional at http://www.theguardian.com:
1.) Make goals personal, positive and present. Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. This is accurate, but by likewise making your goals personal, positive and present you are convincing yourself and already becoming what you want to achieve.
2.) Map out small, actionable steps – then celebrate success along the way.
3.) If you have more than one resolution, focus on the one that will give the biggest reward.
4.) Identify other people who can help you achieve your goal. All of us need help achieving our goals. Make sure the person you share your goal with is someone you trust and is a supporter rather than a detractor.
5.) Learn to navigate any hurdles along the way There will often be barriers to achieving our goals. Know that they exist and think up front about devising strategies to get around them.