[OPINION] New me, New Year blah blah...

Hello February! I saw a great quote at the end of last year: "Nearly time for New Year, New Me blah blah!”

I realised how many of us still believe in New Year’s resolutions and how few people stick with their promises after the end of month one.

The gym can be an awful place if you are there to keep your resolution rather than to keep healthy and fit. A diet can make you lose days and weeks, not kilograms and centimetres if it is only a regular resolution. Sometimes we resolve to start on Monday; same principle, but it’s a weekly breaking of your own word rather than an annual occurrence!

January 2017 has come and gone. This year has eleven months left but we actually only have today.

I saw an experiment on social media about finding time for happiness. A professor fills a jar with golf balls and asks whether the jar is full, many say yes. Then he adds marbles and they trickle in around the golf balls and then some others are convinced that the jar is now full. Out comes a bag of sand, and needless to say the jar is now full. The sand covers everything in the jar and it looks like a jar of sand. All the contents represent an area of our lives. The golf balls are our families and friends, people and things we care about. The marbles are our jobs, hobbies and special times and the sand represents all the less important things we prioritise.

The professor's conclusion and the lesson for me is that many of us put the sand in first and then there is no space for our real valuables. So, empty the jar and start again. It was an eye-opening experiment. The same way we become conscious of what and who is important when life teaches us lessons of loss, detachment, isolation and exclusion.

This year why don’t we all agree on what we want for ourselves, for our families, our schools, places of work, our country?

In the last 20 days I have heard of an adored toddler drowning and breaking the life of his parents. I met a granny looking after her own unemployed adult children, their children and two grandchildren of her deceased sister. She has no financial assistance and the two young boys she has been given guardianship of lost both their parents two weeks apart, one from cancer and one as a result of a massive heart attack. One of the teachers at our school had a fatal car accident, leaving two very young children and unmet wedding plans made for a few weeks from now.

Sometimes we only learn through personal experience. This can lead to regret, remorse, sorrow and suffering.

When, however, we stand on the shoulders of those who have been there and make little changes, that mean a lot, we can add life to our lives and those of the people around us. What a great opportunity to think and be clear about what we want for our year. Too many of us know what we don’t want and we get it every year!

Let’s try some reverse psychology on ourselves and figure out what it is we do want. How do we stop complaining off that tired hymn sheet and start a today to-do list! 2017 will take care of its own business; you should take care of the things that count for you. It is not selfish, it is necessary.

There's a quote that is logical and can be applied anywhere: "Happy wife, happy life!" You can replace 'wife' with 'me'! Everyone wins when we choose our own happy. It is like a bucket list, but without the waiting.

Among the most significant events these last few weeks was President Donald Trump’s inauguration. I feel it is significant that the world appears to be turned upside down with permission, with democratically elected leaders. The followers remain silent while others protest and voice their discontent. In the long run, what do we gain?

I would like to say insight and information about each other. I dare say if we are open to it, we can meet with minds and attitudes and reintroduce common values and principles. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Show up and take your stand with courage. Sitting on a fence in your own life is too predictable, how about falling over into the neighbour’s yard and starting something new and meaningful?

We all march to the beat of our own drum, this is important, but in the band there are other instruments and once we know our own lyrics we can hear the music of the others. It is possible to embrace an unpredictable future by creating it yourself.

Many people are on a hamster wheel and it goes faster and faster, but goes nowhere really. The only thing keeping us on the hamster wheel, keeping us stuck, is our unwillingness to take charge of our own contribution to our lives, our families, our communities and our country.

If not us, then who? Your workplace, your partner, your place of worship, your government? We should all plan on being here for a great time, not a long time. Tomorrow, let alone 2018, is not promised, we have now though, so make it matter. We all matter. Now and change are the only guarantees. Bring it on February, new and possible.

Lisa Joshua Sonn is a social activist. Follow her on Twitter: @annalisasonn