There is something nutty about making New Year resolutions. Think about it.
To design a desirable future, you piece together remnants of broken dreams from the past and try to make the same dreams work in the future.
It doesn’t even make sense because most of the people who set resolutions end up walking in the boulevard of broken dreams.
Research has shown that most people end up breaking their New Year resolutions faster than they can say “Happy New Year!”
Only a measly eight per cent become successful. So if there is inevitable disappointment waiting with open arms around the corner for you, why keep doing it?
The complex philosophical questions people ask themselves about the New Year – like “Where do I want to be?” and “What do I need to do to get there?” certainly – cannot be answered in the narrow space of resolutions, no matter how brilliant these are.
What was supposed to happen will happen anyway, because the lives of most human beings are a work in progress.
There are many more reasons why making new year resolutions is an exercise in futility, especially this side of the universe.
Let’s look at some of the most popular themes of New Year resolutions: health, money and spirituality or religion. None of these three things seems to be in the control of Wanjiku, given the past trends.
Good health remains a pipe dream for many Africans, with Covid-19 in the picture, it is understandable many of our health systems have been stretched. However, even in the face of the pandemic most of our governments have promised too much as far as health is concerned, but most of these remain promises for years and 2021 may not be different.
People such as Dr Paul Kasenene have done a good job of sensitising Ugandans about eating right, yet many still fancy junk food and thus continue consuming it. Some argue that they would indeed love to eat right but choosing white meat over red meat comes with an extra cost.
And if you make it to a public hospital for some of the government hyped services, say immunisation, you or your sick person might die on the bench or get infections while waiting to be attended to.
Essentially, even if you resolve to be in good or better health in the New Year, there are “dark forces” working overtime to ensure that you die before your time.
If your resolution is to make money, perhaps through a better job, you will soon realise that if you are lucky enough to even secure the six-figure salaried job that you so desired, you will be so heavily taxed in that “better job” that more money will simply remain a mirage.
Let’s say you decide to become an entrepreneur or tenderpreneur; there will still be nothing to smile about.
If your resolution is to be more religious or to nourish your spirit, more disillusionment awaits you in the con games camouflaged as prosperity gospel and miraculous deeds.
And if, God forbid, you fell into the “Plant a Seed” trap, your hard-earned money will disappear faster than you can say hallelujah.
Perhaps you will be lucky enough to realise that the God you went to seek outside was with you all along.
The pressure to be more and do more often pushes people to make resolutions anchored in the ‘what ifs’ of the future instead of focusing on living in the present.
As Africans, we have been widely acknowledged for being very resilient people and this is what will get us to the New Year and the next.
No resolutions needed for that. And whatever dreams they have, it is their tenacity that will make them come to pass because the winds of defeat will blow strong and hard each time they try to turn them into reality.
Perhaps it’s time to escape from the bondage of resolutions and just live in the moment.
The next time someone asks you, “What are your new year resolutions?” as they are wont to do in these first few weeks of January, consider saying, “I have none!”
Cheers to living in the present.