Many people meet the idea of new year’s resolution with resistance. Generally, there are three reasons for this resistance. First, some people do not want to make a new year’s resolution because they are afraid of failure. Basically, these people have made extremely challenging resolutions before and failed to carry through with them. For example, weight-loss enthusiasts hit the gym in January, but most disappear by March. Failure to carry through with a difficult challenge causes a person to become fearful of committing to another resolution. After all, nobody wants to fail repeatedly. The second reason for not making a new year’s resolution is a lack of plan for the upcoming year. Some people become complacent and follow well established routines. They do not see the need to make a change, at all. Finally, some people do not find New Year’s Eve a significant date to make a resolution. These individuals make commitments, but begin them at times other than at New Year’s Eve. Whatever their reason is, the skeptics politely dismiss the idea of making a new year’s resolution.

Others are just the opposite. They embrace the idea of committing to a new plan in the new year. They shrug off any past failures they might have had before and take the opportunity to ring in the year by committing to a brand new plan. Another year, another opportunity!

I happen to belong to this latter category. In most years, I make resolutions and do my best to follow through with them. I believe in the saying, “Keep trying until you succeed!” What is my new year’s resolution this year? Recently, I have read the book, “Be Happy,” by Robert Holden. He argues in his book that happiness is found within and not outside the person and that a person cannot become happy because happiness is not a matter of becoming, but a matter of being. Basically, one needs to allow happiness to surface because it is already present inside one’s soul. Since I agree with Robert Holden’s philosophy, I decided to create a new year’s resolution that embraces this idea of happiness. I am committed to uncovering the happiness in my life that is already present, by creating a happiness project for the new year. This project will consist of twelve bucket-style items, which I am planning to complete this year. Since all my life, I have had the desire to live an exciting and adventurous life, the items on my bucket list have to speak to this desire. Therefore, an item to make the list has to follow two important rules. The first rule is that the item (action/event) has to be unusual or out of the ordinary in some way that is capable of creating excitement or a sense of adventure. In short, it has to be something that I would normally not do or something that I would normally overlook in my everyday life. Second, it cannot cost too much money. The idea is that, if it costs too much money, there is an excuse to put it off. In addition to these rules, I will also add a clause that I am unwilling to do anything immoral or illegal under any circumstances.

What are those twelve items on my list? I decided that I would create them on the month-to-month basis. By the end of each month, I will come up with the next month’s item to complete. For the month of January, I made up my mind to read a book, I would absolutely never be caught dead reading. Since I have zero interest in reading romance or soft porn (or, any porn material for that matter), despite the fact that I am a woman, I decided to read the book, Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James. All of you who personally know me, please, don’t start laughing! After all, I am already roaring in laughter, here! This should be an adventure! Actually, I already feel like it is, just by thinking about it. I will report back on my experience with this first item on my bucket list and to reveal the next item at the end of January.

I encourage everyone to make a new year’s resolution. Even if one has failed a difficult challenge before or does not feel a need to make a resolution, a new year’s resolution has the potential to make a little (or big) change in the person’s life. The important thing to remember is that a resolution does not have to be a difficult challenge, one might not feel like doing. It can be fun! One can resolve to spend more time with family, for instance, or, try a beer from a different country every month. How about getting a motorcycle license? Maybe, it is time for a new wardrobe? That romantic getaway with a significant other to a sunny island is still waiting? Make a resolution! Just give it a try! It cannot hurt!

M. J. Mandoki