Most people are familiar with the concept of New Year’s Resolutions, and the problems associated with sticking to them. Before the smoking ban, it used to be common in night spots throughout the British Isles to see people smoking their “last cigarette” at 5 minutes to midnight, only to hear them say “I’ll start in the morning” less than an hour later. Gym membership soars in January every year as does membership of slimming clubs, and I would imagine hypnotherapists see an upturn in business as well.
On the other hand, certain Buddhist sects have a practice of setting determinations for the year. This is similar to goal setting in that it is a list of what you determine to achieve during the next twelve months. This could be anything from passing an exam to having a baby and is not necessarily something you can achieve solely by your own efforts (although it can be).
However hard they may be to stick to though, resolutions are at least under your own control – as long as you have the necessary willpower. You might not be able to ensure you drop two dress sizes, but you can stick to the diet; running every day is possible, but you won’t necessarily make the four-minute mile; and filling in job applications will certainly increase your chances of (but not guarantee) getting one, but chance is the operative word. Determinations and goals are different. Whilst God certainly helps those who help themselves, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, and writing 5,000 words a day won’t necessarily get me my own comedy show. Alternatively, the reverse is also true. To spout another cliché: if you don’t know where you want to go, how can you work out how to get there?
So have I made resolutions or determinations for 2013? Both. Resolutions because I believe in myself, and determinations because I believe in the universe. My resolutions include regular yoga, certain dietary modifications, and climbing Croagh Patrick. And my determinations? To make all my dreams come true.