Let the past dictate future choices

Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As a 25-year-old single male, commitment is not my strong suit.

It’s tough for me to even commit to breakfast most mornings.

I graduated with two bachelor’s degrees in computer science and print journalism because, other than making so much sense, I figured I’d better not commit to one field over the other.

Naturally, these lack of commitment skills mean that I’ve always scoffed at the idea of making New Year’s resolutions.

For years, my only New Year’s resolution has been 1080p.

Three hundred sixty-five days is a long time, when you stop to consider it.

Eating less food might be in vogue now, but what if an apocalyptic nuclear war began, creating a worldwide food shortage in the process?

In a slightly more probable scenario, what if you’ve been doing 200 sit-ups a night and running 10 miles a week in an attempt to impress some young lady with your newfound washboard abs, only for her to move away?

In all seriousness, it’s difficult to argue against the value of setting New Year’s resolutions.

Everyone likes a clean slate.  And furthermore, most of us would take any opportunity to indulge in a bit of self-improvement.

This is doubly true when the resolutions we make are steps taken to improve ourselves, regardless of the opinions of others.

But I’d like to propose a plan that’s just as useful, and oftentimes a great deal more feasible.

In addition to spending your New Year’s Eve making a laundry list of goals, don’t forget to take a moment to reflect on the previous year and learn from your mistakes.

I can only speak for myself here, but my year was riddled with misfires, miscues and missteps.

Fortunately, I also treated every single one of them as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.

Given the volume of those mistakes, I’m growing as a person at an exponential rate.

And as Alexander Pope once said, “a man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is saying that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”

More to the point, taking the time to reflect on oneself is often more rewarding, and far less frustrating, than the often unrealistic goals that accompany the turn of the year.

2014 might be in the books, but that doesn’t mean the lessons we learned are any less meaningful.

By Jonathan Bryant

Jonathan is a staff writer for The 

Greenville Advocate.