Resolutions: 0; Wishes: 1

Photo © 2006 Luigi Anzivino

It’s the fifth day after Christmas, and you know what that means! Our thoughts turn to last-minute charitable donations (which we had every intention of making the previous year), New Year’s resolutions (which we have every intention of keeping the following year), and desperately searching for someone not too ugly to kiss tomorrow night when the clock strikes midnight.

Today, however, Jamie Ridler (indirectly) suggested an alternative to the New Year’s resolution, the New Year’s wish. She asks, “What do you wish for 2010?”

Now, at this juncture, I could make a crack about how we don’t keep our New Year’s resolutions anyway, so they might as well be “wishes.”

But that’s not where I’m going with this. See, a resolution is something I expect to do, presumably to better my situation. But a wish is something someone else needs to accomplish for me, or at least something that happens without my direct effort.

I would resolve…

… to spend more time marketing on Twitter and on other people’s blogs.

… to diet and exercise and lose 20 pounds.

… to quit drinking and smoking.

… to spend more time with family.

… to volunteer more.

But I wish…

… to connect with others, and to be appreciated by them.

… to appreciate my body.

… to have my psychological needs met.

… to be loved by those close to me.

… to connect with my community.

(The logician will be quick to point out that I’ve stacked the deck in favor of wishes, and I have. Everything that I’ve described as a wish could be rephrased as a resolution, and vice-versa. But bear with me here. I’m making a point.)

The resolutions above, which are typical of many New Year’s resolutions, are all about I, me, my. They all look inwardly, to what I can do, what benefits me, how to improve my life. The wishes, on the other hand, look outward, to accept what is, to connect with the world around, to meet the underlying needs that spawned the resolutions.

We make resolutions because we perceive that our needs are not being met. Even the resolution “to volunteer more,” which is a very common resolution, people want to do that so that they’ll feel better about themselves, because they feel a piece missing from their lives. But more often than not, our needs are not being met because we’re turning inward, when we should be turning outward instead.

So this New Year’s, I wish to form deeper relationships with the people around me. I wish to connect with them more fully, to contribute to their lives, and to be appreciated for that contribution.

What’s your New Year’s wish?