Every year since I was a child, I've created lists of resolutions.
My grandmother would have my siblings and I write down our goals and then put our lists in a secret box that we would open the next year. The habit stuck.
Despite years of practice, I make ludicrous resolutions every time. And every year, I fail to keep them.
At the end of 2012, in the relationships section (yes, I classify my resolutions by sections), I wrote: "Stop arguing with everyone so much", and ''complain less''.
When I re-read my list, I wondered whether Nick had snuck in to add these after one too many fights. But no, it was my writing.
I gave myself a high five for having successfully admitted my own flaws. However, these aimed too high, and I predictably failed to achieve them.
This year, I will choose something manageable like: "Limit to one argument and one complaint a day". Small steps.
Each year I also clutter my list with absurd goals that would fail to make me happy even if I achieved them.
"Play chess more often and get good at it," I wrote last year. I guess I had just played chess against Nick that day, and lost once again because he'd played a lot more than me.
I also wrote ''update and use LinkedIn'', and ''tweet once a day'', which I haven't done and still don't see the point of doing. These were part of what I thought my life should look like.
When I write next list, I'll try to forget who I should be (a chess grand-master tech wizard modern media mogul) and focus on who I want to be (fun and connected).
But I also had valid goals in my list, like ''keep fit and healthy''.
In Switzerland, I biked everywhere, went to yoga once a week, jogged regularly, and was almost vegetarian. Here, I'm either sitting in my car, at my desk, or at home, and I eat meat almost everyday. The result? I'm a little heavier, and a little less fit and healthy. This year's well-being category will be at the top of the list.
When I was a child, putting my hopes in the secret box felt magic. Like the box had the power to make things happen. Maybe the magic was in the optimism we learned to cultivate by imagining a better version of ourselves.
At the end of 2012, I imagined a new life in a new country. I might have broken a few resolutions, but I achieved the ones that really mattered, like settling in Christchurch, finishing J-school and becoming a journalist.
So this week once again, I put my ludicrous resolutions and my aspirations in a box, and hoped an even better version of myself would open it next year.
And if I fail to keep all of them, I'll remember what my grandmother told me - ''Remember that failure is an event, not a person''.
Happy New Year, everyone!
- © Fairfax NZ News