The first thought that comes to mind is, valid as those intentions are and clearly important for you to achieve, they can be pulled off at any other time of the year like the 4th March, 17th July or 1st of November… why wait ’till the 1st of January of any given year to accomplish something that you feel is harmful or objectionable to you? However, some individuals do fulfil what they’ve set out to do… Well done and good for you! But it’s true to say so many other challengers’ plans fall by the wayside. For them I suppose, it was a meagre attempt, ending up as a bit of fun to recount to family and friends.

Perhaps the whole endeavour is an act of stoicism on your part, or a simple dare. Alternatively, how about thinking about your promise, pledge, or ‘resolution’ during the run-up to Christmas and choose something that would really make a difference to what could be described as our day-to-day failings in the way we deal with circumstances, having predetermined ideas about others, and all sorts of things.

Why wait till the 1st of January?

So how about trying one or more of these:

This year I’m going to… be a better listener, accepting the other point of view whether you think it’s right or wrong but giving the other person a chance to explain and really trying hard, if need be, to see where they’re coming from, consequently having a better understanding of their view.

This year I’m going to… try hard to have more patience and not ‘lose it’, hold back, and give things a chance.

This year I’m going to… be more considerate and take on board other people’s needs: not parking indiscriminately, moving to one side when chatting to others not blocking the way on our busy Main Street and other minor and not-so-minor inconsiderate actions.

This year I’m going to… regularly take on a ‘good deed’ which will make me feel good and be of great benefit to, for example, those living alone, affording them a few minutes of your time by knocking on their door chatting for a couple of minutes and offering to run an errand for them, or go and visit someone in hospital who may be from abroad with no family or friends.

This year I’m going to… be more willing to push headstrong opinions to one side when it comes to any specific, unpleasant state of affairs within the family or amongst friends and be brave, stand up to the plate and break the impasse for the benefit of all. Get rid of the macho stance of brinkmanship like “I’m not giving in, why don’t they?”.

This year I’m going to… try my hardest not to be so self-opinionated about which I know some family members and friends think I am; stop always wanting to be right.

This year I’m going to be… more tolerant of people from other nations and not tarnishing those from certain countries with the same brush. Talk to those from different cultures with a view to equip yourself with a better understanding of what they’re all about. Make up your mind about people on a one-to-one level and forget about what colour they are, religion they practice or part of the world they’re from.

And what if this year I’m going to… stop claiming, “Oh, you know what they say about priests, churchgoers, the Yacht Club lot (los del peesh), the wealthy, politicians and the homeless sleeping in the street”. I’m not going think of them as bad people simply because some maybe corrupt, immoral or they far from practice what they preach. Their profession or status doesn’t label them unworthy.

This year I’m not going to… think of those with a glum face who perhaps find it difficult to say, “Good morning” and don’t say much as, antipatico. They may have something on their mind or are just shy. You could say they’re not very simpatico, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re antipatico (displeasing). Also, a common one is that you should never judge the book by its cover. I’ve had experiences of that one and realised you could be so wrong. It happens quite often: having preconceived and sometimes very rigid opinions about someone which often turn out to be wrong.

This year I’m not going to… use the ‘hate’ word, especially about people, and even when it refers to the less important silly, obvious platitudes: “Oh how I hate queuing”, or “I hate being caught in the rain!”. Let me ask, who enjoys queuing or being caught in a downpour? So, forget the hate word, it’s not very nice, especially when referring to someone.

Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions – don’t entertain them!

And we come to my favourite which we must all really, really try to eradicate from our minds. This year I’m truly, truly going to stop… making assumptions about people and situations! This one’s rampant and when helped along by social media it becomes an epidemic. So many of us are guilty of this and it’s made worse by the conviction with which some express their misguided views on any particular issue or person. It’s expressed as a given, because they’ve been told by someone who claims to be a bona fide source, because the person who told him or her knows etc… ‘Lo saben de Buena tinta’, a watertight origin or stool pigeon which later turns out to be a predetermined, misguided, fixed opinion in the storyteller’s mind. And in the end turns out to be erroneous and very wide off the mark, hence this one should be top of the list for those to whom it applies. Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions – don’t entertain them!

So, whilst attempting to cut out your smoking habit, trying to lose weight, and cutting down on lovely chocolate consumption, why not try one of the above? Whatever you attempt, may Lady Luck accompany you. I raise my glass of bubbly, commending your efforts!