Why New Year resolutions fail to materialise, but random myths do.

It was December 30th, 2011and the Cyclone “Thane” was raging outside.  The trees swayed, the wind blew away the curtains, and it was raining cats and dogs. But in no way could it dampen my spirit nor my roommates’.  An animated discussion was going on about the New Year resolutions for 2012, and we agreed on working out every morning at 7:00 AM.

Out of the blue, the mirror hanging on the wall fell down smashing into a million pieces. We were left dumbstruck by the impact of the crash and shattered glass glistened on the floor as if saying ode to its glorious past.

After the initial astonishment passed, we started contemplating on the superstitions associated with the breaking of mirrors.

“Myth says breaking of mirrors brings bad luck”, Jasmine said.

“Oh, come on, let this not spoil our New Year celebrations”, I replied.

We were debating on what to do next, while our friend Deepthi was frantically searching in Google about the myths on broken mirror.

“It says 7 years of bad luck or some bad incident will happen in next 7 days”, said Deepthi without tearing her eyes away from the system.

She scrolled down the page to show hundreds of incidents from the past, representations of it in literature and movies and real life examples quoted by people around the world.

“Google is not God! Come on, we have better things to worry about”, I said, concealing my apprehensions. But the girls looked unconvinced.

Just then Gowry returned home from work and we explained to her about the situation at hand.

She brushed away our arguments saying-

“Tomorrow is New Year Eve and instead of planning the celebrations, you are worrying about all this non sense. Let us get this mess out of our room and out of our mind, once and forever”.

As if waiting for a nudge, we started cleaning up the place and tried to put the episode at the back of our mind. But some misgivings lingered, though none of us wanted to talk about it and spoil the fun.

***********

It was New Year Eve and Deepthi was adamant that we have to cut a cake when clock struck twelve. Just as we gave in to her relentless pleas to go shopping for a cake, Gowry got a call from her office.

“Guys, I have to go to work. A ticket has been raised and I have to resolve it. Got to go”, she said.

“Come on, its New Year Eve, do you really have to go?” we asked her, though we knew that there is no other alternative.

The whole of Chennai was out on the roads, chasing their New Year hopes and dreams.  We three, headed towards the shop and Gowry headed to her office.

We were crossing the road and a car that sped past us splashed rain water, leaving the three of us drenched.  Cursing the driver under breath, we were about to enter the bakers, when the power went off.

Standing in pitch darkness, I heard Jasmine say “Is this bad luck due to the breaking of mirror?”

Cutting short our shopping trip, we hurriedly purchased a cake and fought our way back home, in the dark street amidst the crowd that clogged up lanes.

By the time we reached back, we came up with a theory connecting the broken mirror and all the mishaps. Like we see in final destination movie series, bad luck had just affected the three of us and skipped Gowry who was absent when the mirror broke. Random events that could have zero significance on a normal day got new dimensions because we tried to associate it with the myth.

It might sound absolutely ridiculous to you, but I can tell you that sometimes even the most rational person can succumb to what is called “Self-fulfilling Prophecy”. It was a false belief that we had about the broken mirror and the bad luck it would bring, which resulted in our behaviour that tended to make it come true.

I tried applying the same concept to New Year resolutions. It’s a popular belief or rather an understood fact that New Year resolutions are not to be followed.  May be, again the self-fulfilling prophecy comes to play while taking a New Year resolution, as mind already believes that  it is not to be followed. Perhaps that is why our behaviour is such that, we don’t even put an effort in trying to make the resolution come true.

Are you wondering why I am saying this with such conviction?

Because 4 days have passed and we still have not even moved a muscle and the whole “We will work out every morning at 7.00 AM was gone with the wind”. The same wind that blew on that cyclonic night the mirror crashed.

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