keep it real: our guide to making a better New Year resolution

By Craig Borlase | 14 January 2015

Change. Politicians love it and marketers feed our thirst for it. Every day brings a fresh dose of it and yet too much can send us spinning. Our desire to change who we are can bring out the very best and the very worst of humanity.


It’s a complicated business, and yet, as if the mini-plagues of pine needles, credit card debt and belly fat weren’t enough for us to contend with, each and every January many of us dutifully sign up for an extra dose of self-inflicted trouble with our New Year’s resolutions.


What’s the harm in it? After all, isn’t self-improvement an ideal worth chasing?


Perhaps. But there’s a catch. Not all New Year’s resolutions are equal. Some of them are so fantastical, so beyond the scope of our present reality that we leave ourselves no option other than failure. There among the dreams of twice-daily runs, home-made bread and unflappable serenity at all times, we find ourselves staring at the fantasy version of our lives. We have elevated editing and filtering, pinning and reposting to something of an art form. We know how to present the best version of me that we want people to see.


It’s true that we do community, connection and creativity with real confidence. Yet we struggle a little more with honesty. 


Which brings us back to those New Year’s resolutions. By trying them on in the same way that we might daydream about the lottery win or the unexpected inheritance, we use them in the wrong way. Resolutions shouldn’t be a distraction or a toy; we should use them as a tool.


But maybe all this is too cold and cynical. To some degree these resolutions of ours have their place. There's a value to experimenting with being a different person, and our annual aspirations allow us to have a go. And for some, they even stick.


The deeper truth about all this is that change is possible. Change is always possible; it’s what makes us human. The challenge is refining the fantasy and narrowing the gap between it and our reality. The trick to a better New Year’s resolution is not doing away with them altogether or to set the bar so high that we can’t maintain it for 24 hours, the trick is to base it less on the unreachable elements of life and more on the tangible assets we have at our fingertips. We should worry less about who we aspire to be by the end of the year and plan to do more with the potential we hold today.


So what if we dialed down the fantasy stuff and opted for something a little less self-serving? What if we chose to look out rather than in, to help others rather than impress them? What if we opted for generosity more than reputation? And what if instead of trying to make a giant leap to becoming and overnight saint, we took the first of many small steps?


That’s why we at Stewardship do what we do. We believe in planned giving, in helping people to make the small steps today that build a better outcome further down the line.


If you’ve not yet opened a giving account, you can get yours up and running right now in just a couple of minutes. And if you’re already part of the family, why not pass this on to someone that you’d like to invite to join us?


Either way, you’ll be making one of the best starts to 2015 you can possibly make.

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