Making a new start, changing old ways, giving up bad habits or creating new good ones are all part of the New Years tradition. Most promises are never kept, most don’t even last into the next month, but the need for change and progress is paramount to a worthwhile existence. Change in itself is not enough; we need to change and progress. Without the component of progression any change is simply a function of randomness that generally follows the path of entropy and the subtle but often distinct attitude of being lost.
For many reasons men like change. We get bored with the status quo, we get tired of the same old food and we even get tired of sex the same way. Men and women are born to seek out new ways and new stimuli in order to make sense of the often misunderstood meaningless attributes of life in general. The idea that we are born, we live a few years and then we die is to many a death sentence, just waiting to happen. There has to be more from life, there has to be a purpose for living, whether that purpose is God given or man made the purpose needs to be defined in order to have a worthwhile life.
Most religions allow men to glean their purpose externally, letting them believe that what they are doing is a divine calling and that all connected trials to that singular purpose is nothing but a means to a glorious end with all the trials and suffering there for our good. The very act of giving into the force beyond in some ways negates any personal responsibility.
For those without religion the purpose must come from within. No one telling them what to do or believe and without guidance they must find purpose within the daily trials of life. This process is much harder to accomplish. The idea of living a life devoid of any external guidelines is for most an impossible accomplishment, resulting in a chaotic and anarchistic system where only the strong survive and only the pleasures of life are sought to any level of consistency.
The question must be asked of all who read where on this spectrum to you exist? The polarization of either is seldom achieved with most falling somewhere in the middle and being in the middle fail to come to grips with the reality of there own existence.
It is incumbent on all of us to take a stand and determine the level of life we wish to pursue. Living a life is not the same as a life to live and the differences between the two are as wide as those who believe in a God and those who do not. Finding that life to live is what New Years Resolutions are all about, unless of course if your one of the very few who have attained that state of nirvana or self actualization that precludes any need for yearly updates and reboots. For those few I applaud your dedication toward that chosen ideal. I envy your ability to focus in on a specific style of life to live and I desire the same tenacity to achieve balance in my own life.
I am one who has a religion. I enjoy my beliefs and also find them very difficult to maintain. On the one hand I know deep within my soul that there are truths and consistencies that drive me to obedience but at the same time the trials of life move me toward selfish ambitions and a diametrically opposed purpose than the one I’ve chosen. It is a constant battle of will but for the most part I have pursued the good part of my life and sustained a level of satisfaction from those pursuits. I am a believer in the external motivations from a Divine Being that has outlined a process for me to chose how best to exemplify my life in terms of a perfect example. Failure within those terms is inevitable, perfection impossible but the idea of achievement is set forth in well defined terms that I think I understand, only my natural self gets in the way.
My purpose here is not to decry those who do not have a religion for the very definition of religion is the daily devotion to something greater than oneself. Life is greater than the individual and the pursuit of happiness is to understand that a singular life is not greater than the whole. Service to others defines humanity. The selfish attributes of the Natural Man are born of brutality and barbarism and only serve the short term selfish man and not the pursuit of a meaningful life.
In conclusion I do not make New Years Resolutions because for the most part I try every day to be a better person, less natural and more spiritual. There are a lot of things that I could resolve to do better but in the course of my life I hope I get to them before I die. If I were to make a promise toward one specific thing over the many that I need help with I suspect I would forsake the development of those that really need dealing with in lieu of that one that I only think needs help and only today, meaning that by the second month of the year it will have been forgotten and I will have failed. Not a great way to start a new year.