I’m a natural born pessimist, and a chronic moaner. Turns out I always have been. It is without a doubt my very worst trait. It has taken me years to say it, but like an addict I have had to finally admit I have a problem. This New Year I’m quitting, and this time I mean it. This year I will be an optimist. This year is my lucky year. I know this for certain because I believe it is.
Just like me, millions if not billions of other people have set resolutions this year. They are a New Year’s ritual, made in the belief that sticking to them will lead to a better happier life. In reality, we don’t stick to them at all. In fact a study at Hertfordshire University suggests that less than a quarter of us are able to keep the promises we make to ourselves at the beginning of the year. Why? To put it simply, we make them too hard for ourselves. A month down the line going to the gym feels like a chore, and reading only critically acclaimed literature means that you spend most your time with your nose in a dictionary.
Like so many, my resolution has been made with the best of intentions. A retrospective look at 2012 made me realise that whilst it may have been a good year for British Olympians and the Queen, my own year had been full of disappointments and difficult times. Finishing university had been a shock to the system; moving back home after three years of independent living had proven even more so. On top of this the reality of the job market has shown itself to be one of the greatest challenges I have ever faced, “tricky” would be an understatement. Sure, there had been some highs, a few interviews here and there, an offer to intern, but nothing concrete had been determined and having no clear path to follow had left me feeling I had failed. One day, about mid-December, the same day I had received another generic rejection e-mail for a graduate job I had applied for, my local train station was flooded leaving me stranded the wrong side of home and a recent offer of an internship with a prestigious company had fallen through, I realised something would have to give. I could not be successful if I already felt I would never become successful. The Hertfordshire study suggests that the key to making changes permanently is working towards smaller, more achievable goals- creating little steps to climb as opposed to a mountain, and this is the approach I have decided to take in the coming year. My negative, or as I like to call it “realist” approach to life has not made me happy so far, so why would it this New Year?