A new year to … Be kind to yourself and others

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Steve Sherman

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I often begin with the promise of improved health; weight loss, fitness, more sleep, veganism, fewer carbs, more exercise, less sugar… the list goes on.

I then move from health to wealth: I am going to pay off the bond sooner, gather all money that is outstanding, invest and save more AND make smarter business decisions. Finally, I look inwards and make promises about taking care of myself, fewer hours on social media, being nicer towards others, putting family first and starting fewer farribles.
In truth, I’ll visit the gym once and cut out carbs for 24 hours. But then, my good intentions are put on hold. There is a Shabbat dinner at the Cohens (you know the one that wrote all the cookbooks) and my progress is dealt a lethal blow. A quick pep-talk and I am back on track until, who is celebrating their golden anniversary and sponsoring the Brocha the next morning? Oy vey. I am in a downward spiral.

How can I salvage any morsel of progress? On Monday morning I proudly and assertively phone the bank about reducing my monthly service fees. I am caller 239 in the queue and they assure me that I should continue to hold as they value my business. So after an hour on hold, I jump into the car and go to the bank hoping this may be quicker. I walk into the bank and stand in line for two hours. It is becoming painfully obvious that I’m sinking deeper! Quick there must be one goal that I can attain in the new year! I had been contemplating a hiatus from Facebook for a whole day (yes this would be an incredible display of personal sacrifice and will power) but I need to share my despair and my awful day with 827 people I call friends. It suddenly dawns upon me that I am not only underachieving in the resolutions department but I am actually moving in reverse! These are what I call reversolutions.

How could I possibly turn things around? It is said that I should count my blessings and realise that there are people who are far worse off than I. With a quick glance through social media, it would appear that none of my friends are having these issues. They are smiling in every photo, they are travelling to exotic places, they are eating at all the hotspots, they are attending all the best parties, both husband and wife look tanned and 20 years younger — they are the poster people for the ideal life. And then the Facebook façade begins to crumble. It turns out that our happiest friends are in the middle of a bitter divorce. Close friends are in financial ruin. A best friend has a life threatening illness. A mate confided in me how nice it would have been on his trip overseas if he had not taken the kids with him…Wow… his holiday photos with the kids were the kind that you would find on travel brochures.

So here is my advice: With the New Year coming up, stop being so hard on yourself! Stop comparing your life to others because behind the Instagram and Facebook photos, can lie a very different reality. Goals can start at any time of the year but they require effort, not excuses. Just be yourself and be nice to other people. Shanah Tovah!

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