Tag Archives: resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

1 Jan

This is a translation of a blog post from noted Tamil writer Jeyamohan’s blog.

Translation from:


Translated by: Gokul



I occasionally read New Year’s resolutions, birthday resolutions etc. Most of these usually start with self criticism/mockery about unfulfilled resolutions from previous years. It will be followed by further new resolutions. If the person has crossed a few such resolutions or if he is middle-aged, then the resolutions will smack of improbability.

I was like this during my youth. I used to sigh at the sight of brand new diaries purchased in January, lying unused in December. Nowadays, I do not even remember the first of January. This year, I had to speak about this as a radio station requested me. The question was ‘Were you able to achieve your last year’s resolution?’

I replied ‘I do not take up any New Year’s resolutions.’ The questioner was a young girl from Kerala. ‘The let me rephrase the question. Have you completed what you planned for last year?’ I thought for a while and said ‘In the last 25 years, I have never failed to complete what I set out to do. I have never abandoned something that I started.’

She was quiet for a while. Then she laughed ‘Jeyetta, isn’t this a very tall statement?’ ‘Is it so? I really looked back after your question – whether I have abandoned something midway. No, I haven’t.’

I may have postponed a few things. Because the time was not ripe for it. I may have stopped something after realizing the path chosen to do a task is wrong. I may have expanded on a few tasks. But I have not failed to complete something having planned to complete it within so many days. I have completed even huge projects. I have been with the spirit of activity every single day. I told her that. ‘Given my nature, I cannot be peaceful with a sense of in completeness’. She said she will broadcast that.

In reality, the problem with those who take yearly resolutions is that they are not fired with the zeal of activity throughout the year, they do not plan their activity well or they do not realize their own limits and possibilities. If someone considers a New Year or a birthday as a new beginning, it means that he has not begun anything really. For someone who has begun something, isn’t Life really a flowing continuity of zeal and activity?

There can be only one beginning in life. Once begun, life is merely progress. There is nothing more farcical than beginning life anew every year. That is hesitation at the startline, rocking back and forth on the swimming pool plank, hesitating to jump.

In truth, it is dangerous as well. How are these resolutions adopted? They arise from the self-pity that one hasn’t done anything that one thought of in the last year. Hence grand resolutions are taken up with gusto. They do not see whether the necessary conditions exist for their accomplishment. There are no clear plans to achieve them. One’s own abilities are not taken into account. No effort is made to list one’s shortcomings and attempt made to remove them. Most resolutions are merely ‘Do you know who I am? I will nail that thing easily!’

As a result, these resolutions do not realize. After a few years, they console themselves ‘How many times have I told myself this? Nothing will happen. This is my fate!’. That is the end, then there is no progress. Life ends.

What is called beginning? Finding out what to do in life. And then deciding to accomplish it. Its very basis is to estimate one’s own abilities. We usually over estimate ourselves a little bit. But when we estimate ourselves exceedingly high, usually we are aware of that. We should not make future plans based on such estimates. The first step we take towards it is what I call the beginning. Mine happened in Kasargod in 1986. I have never looked back.

Our dreams may be big. Dreams are themselves big. They should be frothing within our internal selves all the while. Otherwise life doesn’t become sweet. But we should be aware of the distance between one’s dreams and practical goals. Our dreams are an internal river. Our plans for the future should be grabbed as a handful from this river.

In truth, it is not the accomplishment of these goals that is important. It is Life. To fill this period of time that we have received as life, with happiness. Happiness is not in achieving something, not in winning something, but in Being completely. A successful life is that in which we fill our life with activity which gives happiness. Looking back, being able to say – yes, I am content. Goals and plans are for this purpose alone. They are required only to prevent Life being wasted in mundane things and being frittered away.

A life with a goal, which progresses according to plans towards the goal will be filled with zeal and activity. There are few things in life which keep us as content and happy as having the zeal for activity with a positive outlook. That is why activity is important. In reality, nothing of consequence will be lost by our doing or not doing something in life. What we do is for our fulfillment alone.

A positive outlook has to be re-emphasized. Activities done as a retort or against another thing never yield contentment. Mostly they do not last long as well. There are people who start something as a response to something, find themselves in it and reach a positive state of mind through it and move towards contentment. But starting something completely negatively, as a challenge against somebody or something and continuing it for long time and winning it – these are things that cinema teaches us. It cannot happen in real life.

People with a negative mindset will lose interest in it after some time. Because it doesn’t give the pleasure of activity. Everyday it adds to ego and anger. As a result, it will kill ability. It makes one weak and sabotages one’s activity. We really do not pursue things for long if they do not yield happiness to us. It results in a defeatist attitude. We become bitter and angry, prone to abusing and mocking others.

Those with a negative mindset will be observed by others for problems. They will support them in a few instances for a few reasons. But mostly, others will studiously avoid them. The net result will be loneliness. That loneliness will push one towards more bitterness. Hence, one should never mind about enemies or those who are jealous about us. They are much smaller than us. When we contest them, we become small as well.

Anybody possessing zeal for activity will suggest the maxim that any activity should be undertaken only for joy. Any activity can also be converted to a joyful one as well. It only needs to be approached with a positive frame of mind and a sense of enjoyment. Realizing its subtleties will yield the joy of knowledge. Small day to day victories will yield the joy of accomplishment. That alone is enough.

I myself realized that one should not perform any activity for short term gains. With such an objective, anything big or long lasting cannot be achieved. Working towards a small goal merely causes agitation. Even small setbacks cause dejection and make activity a torture. Activities that are undertaken for joy alone can be continued for a long period of time. Only such activities can become successful.

There is something which qualifies me to speak about all this – the fact that I am successful in my field. I am stating merely how I conduct my activity – not what I saw, heard or learnt from others.

Hence we should ask ourselves four questions 1) What activity will make me really happy? 2) What activity do I have the capacity to do? 3) What are my shortcomings in that? 4) What is my plan to do it? Begin. Continue throughout your life. Beginning like this is a sort of birth. It is a birthday resolution. This one is enough.