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Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31: Clean Slate

First thing first: I believe that a clean slate is a myth. It is something like in the movie The Dark Knight, where the leading female role was longing for such after a quite unpleasant track record in her life, and that could only be solved with some sort of computer programme. Whenever one tries to start over, there are some things they will always carry on with them, making the slate will never be completely clean at any point of the year.

Since I only have so much time in the world, just like my other worldly resources, I believe that it would be such a shame to spend it recklessly. Moreover, as what lies in the future remains unknown before it presents itself in, well, present time, it is wise to, other than be prepared to be surprised, plan ahead. For me, planning ahead is not merely about making short-term to-do lists, but also how to integrate them to ones in longer terms, and making sure things are done for certain purposes.

A lot of people appreciate the start of the year with a prepared Resolution; sometimes a thorough one, some other times a simple “be better”. I did write some sort of a resolution, but somehow it was not saved on my computer – probably that is a sign for me not to promise myself too much for the year ahead. I still remember some of them, though, such as to have complete documentation of my daily spending and read at least a book (re-reading does not count) a week.

 “I am aware that I want way too many things in life. However, I am glad that I know what I want, and as I am paving my way to earn them, I know I am going to tick things off my wish list in 2013, one at a time,” I said in my Facebook status today, making it my last in 2012.

Once I posted the status, I came to a realisation that it is not clean slate that I need to start the year; it is the drive to keep on going. As monumental as New Year may sound for someone to have another fresh beginning, it is more crucial to have what it takes to live their lives throughout the year. This, I believe, is what many people lack in, making their resolutions abandoned within the first weeks of the year. Those who put “be skinny” in their New Year Resolutions, without having tangible goals and action steps, for example, would only have a fat chance.

I remember encountering something called the Need for Achievement (N-Ach) some time in college while taking Communication Psychology class. The term was coined by American psychologist Henry Murray, and later popularised by David McClelland. BusinessDictionary.com defines it as a “personality trait characterised by an enduring and consistent concern with setting and meeting high standards of achievement.”

Anyway, I see that the word “achievement” itself has quite a large spectrum in people’s lives, although sometimes it is oversimplified by those who say, “I want to be a better person” without having better clarity in their parameters. This fact reminds me that everyone, regardless of the level, has the N-Ach in themselves. After all, the N-Ach is related to the difficulty of tasks people choose to the difficulty of tasks people choose to undertake. It is said that those with high N-Ach tend to choose moderately difficult task, feeling that they are challenging, but within reach. That sounds familiar *cough cough*.

Moreover, as the need for achievement motivates an individual to succeed in competition, and to excel in activities important to him or her, getting achievement is not necessarily about impressing others. There is another highlight that everybody deserves to have, and that is the self-fulfilment. Yes, people, if you are still wondering what drives you, here is the importance of being selfish.

To begin 2013, I will give it the celebration it deserves, like joining the crowd for a countdown and fireworks-watching and the like, then later on taking a long nap. But then, there are 364 days left in the year, and I owe myself to make the most of them by paving the way to get what I want. 

A comprehensive preparation for continuing my study abroad is in order, as I am looking forward to do so in a year or two. A desire to travel more is also getting more encouragement, as I have been receiving heart-warming New Year wishes from friends in different parts of the world, saying that whenever I travel to their respective hometowns, they will be there to be my host. To make sure that I shall be in a tip-top shape while doing everything, I am starting to take better care of myself – better sleeping habit and regular exercise are in order!

John Lennon says, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. I say that life is, by the way, also what happens when you’re busy doing nothing (other than probably convincing others that you’re just a laid back person). Life happens no matter what you do, because time waits for no one. Now, it is your call – what will you be busy doing when life happens?

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