It’s a New Year again. They don’t come that often. Three hundred and sixty five days is a long time. Sometimes, three hundred and sixty six. Every New Year, most people make resolutions. I for one do. We make a tall list of things we want to do and be. My resolutions usually take up at least a page of my journal. By the end of January however, I forget all about my resolutions. So this year, I decided not to make any. I made that decision because of a story I heard.
Once upon a time, a little boy asked his dad; “Daddy, there’s a log floating on a river. Three frogs are sitting on this log. One of them decides to jump. How many frogs remain?” His father quickly replied; “Two, of course. It’s very simple Math.” The boy said, “Dad, listen to the question again. There’s a log floating on a river. Three frogs are sitting on this log. One of them decides to jump. How many frogs remain?” This time, his dad did not reply immediately. After giving it a little thought, he said, “Okay son, I get your point now. No frogs remain. The other two would jump in after the first one.” The little boy shook his head and said, “Daddy, you are wrong again. All three frogs remain.” The father did not understand his son’s reasoning and so, he said; “But son, there were three frogs and one decided to jump…..”
His son interrupted him and said, “Exactly Daddy, he decided to jump. He did not jump. It was a decision he made. He did not implement it. It remained in his mind and since his friends are not mind readers, they all sat peacefully on their log.” His father then understood what his son was saying.
After I heard this story, the first lesson I learnt was that, more often than not, we do not pay attention to detail. Those little signs that make all the difference. When I first heard the story, I paid no attention to the semantics of it, so I failed to realize the frog merely decided to jump. It is good to notice the little things, but this point I irrelevant to my article. The second lesson, which is my point, is this; resolutions are made very often but seldom realized.
Resolutions are supposed to help us set a certain standard by which to live our lives. It’s good to make them. However, we tend to be like the frog that was sitting on the log. We resolve to do a lot of things but we do not do them. We set these standards but we fail to live up to them. Why? There are myriad reasons.
We set achievable standards but we fail to implement them because we feel too lazy or because we keep procrastinating. Jumping is something quite easy for a frog to do. In fact, I think frogs spend about ninety five per cent of their lifetime jumping. Why then did the frog decide to jump but did not actually jump? Simple; it was being lazy. Sitting on a log and doing nothing is more appealing than having to jump in to the water and having to swim. Sometimes, we resolve to take a certain action but we keep putting it off. We think to ourselves, “I’ve got the whole year ahead of me. What’s the rush? I’ll do it.” It is true three hundred and sixty five one quarter days is a long time but time flies. There’s an Akan saying that goes “Afe nkyeri ba.” It means, a year does not keep long in coming. Next thing you know, it’s the end of another year and you’re asking yourself why you were not able to realize your resolutions. It’s because you kept on procrastinating and putting off till tomorrow what could have been done today.
Another reason why we don’t do what we resolve to is because we set resolutions that are not practical. We set unrealistic resolutions. Resolutions that are not readily or almost impossible to achieve. For instance, let’s say I am a university graduate who has resolved to obtain my post-graduate degree this year. I don’t have a paying job and I have no means of obtaining or borrowing money. Though this resolution is a good one, it is not practical. Unless there is a miracle, it is nearly impossible to achieve this resolution. A better resolution would be to try to get a job that pays enough so that I could start saving towards a post-graduate degree. Setting easy resolutions all the time is not healthy. We don’t challenge ourselves. On the other hand however, we keep breaking our own spirits if we set resolutions we constantly fail to realize. It is good to challenge yourself by setting up difficult tasks for yourself. It is however better to boost your own morale and motivate yourself by setting standards that you can live up to.
Sometimes too, our resolutions are influenced by the people around us. Whilst this can be a good thing sometimes, it is very unhealthy most of the time. We set standards for ourselves based on the standards others set for themselves. We forget that we are different and react to stimuli in our own way. Our resolutions fail to see the light of day because the resolutions we set are not for us, but for a version of us we have created based on the lives of other people. The best person you can ever be is you and the earlier you accepted that, the better. Which is why when you’re making a resolution, you should look at yourself and not look at others. Make resolutions that are about you, not about others you wish to be.
Another reason is that we take on more than we can do. We make so many resolutions that our own heads spin sometimes when we read them. You’re one person and yet you want to accomplish gazillion things, all by yourself. Why? Take each day as it comes. Start from the simple and easy to achieve and the rest will pan itself out.
This year, I decided not to make any resolutions and I realized that in itself was a resolution. I am not going to make a list of things I want to do or be. I am not saying making resolutions is a bad thing, no. All I’m saying is, make resolutions that can be achieved because they suit you.
And so my resolution is to live each day as it comes. I have realized that trying to think the future out usually never works out. If you live right today, tomorrow usually takes care of itself. That is my resolution for 2017. Make the best of each day. Face every day as it comes. It’s the resolution that suits me. Do the same. Make resolutions that suit you, and not a fictional version of you you have created in your head based on the standards of others. Have a prosperous 2017.