As creatures who enjoy habits, creating or finding meaning, patterns, and structure in our lives, most humans keep track of time for these very reasons. Our connections of the cycles of the seasons and the passage of time are intimately connected to our sense of identity. With this comes the resolutions of the new year.
The sentiment of being given a clean slate (tabula rasa) is literally refreshing, the idea that we can each start anew, let go of some less than savory habits, pounds, grudges, and dedicate ourselves to healthier eating or exercise regimens, better financial planning, or creative pursuits we have previously allowed to fall by the wayside. I think about checking out only as many library items as I can possibly read, listen to, or watch. Hmmm…
That most of us, soon after the January rollover, will also roll back to our previous comfort zones is probably inevitable and statistically about 80% of Americans do fall back to old habits, but this state of affairs does nothing to prevent us from hoping that our will power will be made of sturdier stuff than it was in previous years. And some of us will accomplish or at least come nearer to the goals we have set for ourselves. I might add that it is probably helpful to our self-esteem to set goals that are realistically achievable, as this is encouraging to the continuity of the process itself. This blog post contains a short history of new year’s resolutions and traditions and suggests writing down the goals, tracking your progress, and relying on friends to remind and support you along the path. In fact, this site includes a page where you can record and track your goals.
While the ancient Babylonians modestly paid off old debts or returned borrowed items to turn a new leaf, the Romans offered promises of improved conduct to their two-faced god, Janus, at the beginning of the year. As Janus was able to look backward into the past as well as into the future, this seems appropriate!
Here are a few recently published books available through DCPL that might help you focus and organize on your goals, or for those less goal oriented, to show gratitude and appreciation for self and the gifts you already enjoy.
- Ties that Bind: stories of love and gratitude from the first ten years of Storycorps, edited by Dave Isey with Lizzie Matthews, 2013
- The New Frugality: how to consume less, save more, and live better, by Chris Farrell, 2010
- Slow Love: how I lost my job, put on my pajamas, and found happiness, by Dominique Browning, 2010
- Perfect Square, (a picture book on the theme of contentment and change), by Michael Hall, 2011
- Mole Had Everything (a picture book for children questioning the benefits of materialism), by Jamison Odone, 2012
- Reshaping it all: motivation for physical and spiritual fitness, by Candace Cameron-Bure, 2011
- Changeology: 5 steps to reaching your goals and resolutions, by John C. Norcross with Kristin Loberg with Jonathan Norcross, 2012
- 52 Small Changes: one year to a happier, healthier you, by Brett Blumenthal, 2011
- VB6: Eat vegan before 6:00 pm to lose weight and restore your health- for good, by Mark Bittman, 2013
- The Hormone Cure: reclaim balance, sleep, sex drive, and vitality naturally with the Gottfried Protocol, by Sarah Gottfried, 2013
- Little Flower Yoga for Kids: a yoga and mindfulness program to help your child improve attention and emotional balance, Jennifer Cohen Harper, 2013
- Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: train your brain to get more done in less time, by Paul Hammerness and Margaret Moore, 2012
- Ways to Help in Your Community, by Claire O’Neill, 2011