Can I just be honest with you about something? I really don’t care what your New Year’s Resolution is. If I had to put money on it, I bet it’s something that’s centered around yourself. I know the story: “I want to lose 10 pounds!” Or, something more subjective as, “I’m going to be a better person!” Every year on the last day of the year, it’s all you ever hear about. People don’t talk about “how” they’re going to change or lose those ten pounds. Most of them just say it and don’t even think about a plan to achieve what they say they’ll do. And then when the new year comes and goes, they find themselves subconsciously making the very same resolutions that they did the year before. I like to think of this as the New Year’s Eve noise. And it’s just as loud (or even sometimes louder) than the celebration at midnight.
Don’t get me wrong. My problem isn’t you making resolutions. By all means, I could never be mad at someone who makes goals for themselves. After all, you know the changes you need to make a hell of a lot better than I do. But what is a problem is when you don’t even make an effort to do what you’ll say you’ll do. Don’t hype up others with your nonsense about how you’ll be a changed person yet turn around and you’re going on a tirade on the Internet about how some chick stepped on your shoes at a New Year’s party. Spare us: you live in a world where some people can’t even afford to spell “shoes”. Despite what you may think, the world will not care about that one centimeter scratch on your shoes that you paid your life’s savings for (you could probably afford to get them fixed if it’s THAT serious).
You think I’m still talking crazy, huh? Well, since you insist on making New Year’s resolutions can I give you a suggestion? In 2012 and beyond, I want you to be a man/woman of your word: do what you’ll say you do. Face it, the world is full of people who are all talk and no action. And that’s what makes me indifferent about people and their resolutions. You hear about it all the time from the government (we will not raise taxes) to your children (Mommy, I promise I’ll keep my room clean if you get me a puppy). How many relationships have you been in that were full of promises that weren’t kept? Or, how many people did you lend money to, only to never get it back?
People who don’t keep their word have really became one of my biggest pet peeves this year; like this unpaid internship I worked in May. I only was interested in it because of the marketing and PR experience I’d gain. I didn’t have a job yet, so I was just looking for more practice . And this seemed like a good place to start my freelance work. After all, how could I go wrong working with a start-up productions company dedicated to serving non-profits in metro Detroit? By working with people I barely knew who obviously over-hyped their “internship program.” Sure, recording video for an event as inspiring as the Race for the Cure is fun (it was even cooler to interview the mayor of the city). But after the event, what was next? Apparently nothing. I never did any of the marketing and PR I was supposedly brought in to do. And I still don’t have that “lovely portfolio” I was told I’d get. I guess all they wanted were some volunteer videographers; I just wanted some experience. You see how this doesn’t match up? But hey, this example is much more tame compared to some of my other disappointments this year (please don’t get me started).
And that’s why keeping your word is the best thing you could do for next year. Start small by making promises to yourself. I bet you’ll find it hard to keep over-promising the things you need to do. When you start being honest with yourself, you’ll find it easier to be honest with other people. If you believe in treating people the way you’d like to be treated, you’ll find yourself staying away from over-promising. Do this long enough and it’ll become a habit that’s part of who you are. You’ll also find that because people give words meaning, you’ll watch what you say a lot more closely.
Keeping your word is the best way to make your resolution stand out. Anybody can make noise on New Year’s Eve, but if you really want someone to care about your noise, keep your word.