The problem with New Year resolutions is that once they are no longer new, they tend to be forgotten or discarded. Until the next year, that is. This is one of the reasons why I do not really believe in making New Year resolutions.
Over the past week and a bit, it has been interesting to notice the effort some people put into framing their festive messages and New Year resolutions, with some looking like a lot of thought went into it before pen was put to paper, as we used to say in the old days.
Nowadays it is probably more appropriate to say before finger was put to keyboard.
But in the end, most messages and resolutions have to do with the same things: relationships, health (including weight and exercise), financial stability and career enhancement.
Sometimes the resolutions might even include some politics, which is not unusual for an election year, which is what South Africa is having this year.
But the political ones have been mainly boring, with most people expressing their intention to vote for a certain political party and imploring others to do the same.
With regards to relationships, it appears that many people are searching for love, which has proven elusive to many.
My understanding is that Cupid works overtime during festive seasons, but maybe he is shooting the wrong arrows: filled with lust instead of love.
If my social media feed is anything to go by, it appears that more people are single, divorced or widowed and, in many cases happily so.
But one can never underestimate the importance of societal norms which implore us to be in relationships.
Throughout history, if you were not in a relationship, it was as if something was wrong with you. My wish is that people will be happy with themselves, whether they are inside or outside of a relationship.
In fact, even if you are single, you are still in a relationship with yourself and you need to treat yourself with respect.
One of the New Year resolutions that get broken very easily and early has to do with health, particularly with relation to weight loss and exercise.
Gyms are normally packed in January - and maybe into February - but the decline in numbers starts soon after that.
Maybe at the beginning of the year there is a need to get rid of excess weight put on during the festive season, especially if one is confronted daily with pictures of super-slim model-like people who spent the whole year getting their bodies in shape to display them at beaches at the end of the year.
But having a slim body does not necessarily mean having a healthy body, which is much more important. My wish is that people would focus more on their health than on their weight, even though the two can sometimes - but not always - be related.
Financial stability and career enhancement often go hand in hand. Many people think about their future during the festive season and try to find ways in which they can improve their financial situation.
Quite often, the only way to do this is by changing jobs and, in some cases, even careers.
I have always believed that you must do what makes you happy and money will follow.
Maybe I am not the right person to talk: I have never been a millionaire (only in Zimbabwe, where I was a billionaire, but I suppose that does not count).
I have always followed happiness rather than money. Too many people are miserable in their jobs but have no other choice because they depend on their earnings.
If I am forced to have a New Year resolution, it would simply be to try to be a better person. Ultimately, this is what everyone is saying in their messages and resolutions. It is doable, at least for a few months into the year. Compliments of the season to all.
(First published as a Thinking Allowed column in the Weekend Argus on Saturday, 5 January 2019)