New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap these days. I get it. We’ve all binged on chips on January second. We’ve all started watching too much television and neglecting our friendships before February arrives. Very few of us have great records when it comes to maintaining New Year’s resolutions. And yet, I still like them.
In spite of it all, New Year’s gives us a chance to reflect. What’s going well? What needs work? What are my priorities for change?
And where’s the downside in that? Of course, as a personal historian, I’m all about reflecting. Resolution-making and memoir-writing, after all, are similar tasks in some ways. One asks us to reflect and project in 12-month increments; the other takes a longer view with a bigger lens and a greater sense of perspective.
Both tasks give us the chance to grow.
How do you want to grow in this next year? If you’re so inclined, consider starting your memoirs. For those with big dreams, consult with a personal historian to help guide you through the process of creating a hard-cover heirloom that shares your story in depth. For those who would like to start smaller, begin jotting down your memories, or drafting an ethical will, or writing a letter to a loved one.
Regardless of how you proceed, like New Year’s resolutions, your memoirs should look back (in this case, “how did I get to be the person I am today?) and look forward (“what stories do I want my children and grandchildren to remember?”).
Take a moment to look at the good that New Year’s resolutions offer. The chance to reflect, the chance to explore, the chance to present your descendants with a gift they will treasure forever.
And all without having to give up desserts.
Happy New Year!