EDITORIAL – Entering the New Year with resolutions and renewed resolve

The dawn of a new year is more meaning-laden than the simple act of turning a calendar page might suggest. It is a time, if only symbolically, for new beginnings in our community and our personal lives.

In the spirit of getting this new year started on a positive note, we are pleased to acknowledge three highly respected members of the Cayman Islands community who have been recognized on the international stage for their local contributions.

For “services to the community,” well-known Pines resident (and former manager) Olive Miller has received an OBE, an upgrade to the MBE she received about 40 years ago.

Also for services to the community, entrepreneur and philanthropist Betty Baraud has received an MBE.

And for “services to promoting science education,” University College of the Cayman Islands observatory director Bill Hrudey has received an MBE.

We extend our congratulations to Ms. Miller, Ms. Baraud and Dr. Hrudey for their well-deserved laurels.

Speaking more generally, at this time of year people find themselves ritually reflecting upon and recommitting to principles they hold dear. We resolve to relinquish bad habits and vigorously pursue higher goals. In short, we vow to be better versions of ourselves.

Of course, articulating this vision is no assurance of success. It is only the first of many steps. Following through on our aspirations is another matter, requiring a steady measure of commitment, self-discipline and purposefulness.

Jokes abound about fitness routines adopted in January and abandoned before the end of the month; about “strategic plans” that gather dust in a forgotten corner; about the slow, inexorable creep of inertia as the year advances and we settle back into old routines.

In fact, according to psychology professor David DeSteno, writing in The New York Times last week, by Jan. 8, 25 percent of New Year’s resolutions will have already been abandoned. By the end of the year, more than 90 percent will remain unfulfilled.

Some would say this “failure rate” is reason enough to eschew the idea, entirely – “resolving” not to make New Year’s resolutions at all.

We look at it somewhat differently.

Pausing to take stock of our lives – individually and collectively – to measure the gap between who are and who we wish to be, in itself serves a worthwhile purpose, whether it happens in January or June.

Without a clear idea – a vivid mental image – of our “ideal state,” we have no hope of achieving it.

The difference between making resolutions and realizing them can be likened to the difference between drawing a map and successfully completing a journey. Even if we sometimes find ourselves “recycling” the same resolutions over the course of several years, throwing the map away isn’t the answer. It’s akin to throwing away our dreams and aspirations.

That may be one reason the making of New Year’s resolutions persists as a time-honored tradition – undiminished by repetition and untarnished by their evanescence.

Every great journey, for sure, begins with a single step. At New Year’s, with our resolutions, many of us make that first step. It is a sign of hope, of optimism, of our desire to do better – and to be better.

We laud and applaud each and every one among us who begins the New Year with resolve to be better in the new year than in the one that just has taken its place in the history books.