Like the rest of the country, I began 2023 feeling like death warmed over. Our first proper Christmas since lockdown 2020 and many of us were too sick to party. It was a pick and mix lottery of diseases, but most of us got a winning ticket of sniffles, coughs, fever, and fatigue. Apparently, not one household in the parish was spared. I did not have Covid, but it’s not clear which version of the flu, strep, or other respiratory illness I managed to acquire between Christmas and New Year. Nor is it clear if this was the same version of COVIDNOT-23 (ie not covid that takes 2.3 weeks to clear) that every member of our household came down with. It was bad enough to require antibiotics, but mild enough to manage symptoms with paracetamol, decongestants, and cough medicine (though it took two pharmacies to get some).
Whatever sickness it was has had me shuffling around for the first week of the year in a bit of a brain fog. Which is not the best sort of brain to have when you must write a New Year’s column. The problem was not what to write about. I had an idea. I had the angle. The problem was writing it. The lurgy had made my ideas jumbled. The words were slow to form sentences. What to do?
And then I remembered that we are living in the future.
A few weeks ago, Chat-gpt was launched on the internet. My brain is too foggy to explain what it is. Look it up. It will blow your mind. Suffice it to say that it is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) that has all the information of the internet at its disposal, along with the ability to communicate in fully formed sentences. It will answer any question. It can write poetry. I asked it what the best time was to run a dehumidifier and in seconds it wrote a detailed summary of when was the best time, why and what conditions might affect the answer.
Why not ask it to write my column? I fired up my computer, logged into Chat gpt, and asked it to write a newspaper column about New Year’s resolutions incorporating the idea that instead of making resolutions to change oneself, the resolution is that you are enough and don’t need to change (my half-formed idea for a column).
Welcome to the future! This is what an artificial intelligence wrote in a matter of seconds: ‘New year’s resolutions are a time-honoured tradition, a chance for us to reflect on the past year and set goals for the year ahead. But too often, our resolutions are focused on self-improvement, on changing ourselves in some way. We resolve to lose weight, to exercise more, to be more organised, to be kinder to others.
‘While there is nothing wrong with striving to better ourselves, it’s important to remember that we are already enough, just as we are. We don’t need to change ourselves to be worthy of love, respect, or success. This New Year let’s make a resolution to embrace our imperfections, to love ourselves as we are, to stop striving for perfection. Instead of resolving to change ourselves, let’s resolve to be kinder to ourselves, to give ourselves the grace and understanding that we so readily extend to others.
‘One way to do this is to practice self-compassion. This means treating ourselves with the same kindness, concern and understanding that we would offer to a good friend. It means acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes. And that it’s OK to be human.
‘Another way to embrace our imperfections is to focus on gratitude. When we start to see good things in our lives, it’s easier to be kind to ourselves and to recognise our own strengths and accomplishments. We can start a gratitude journal or practice daily gratitude exercises help cultivate this mindset. It’s also important to set realistic goals for ourselves. If we set the bar too high, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure. Instead let’s aim for progress, not perfection.
‘Finally, let’s remember to be patient with ourselves. Change takes time, and it’s OK to take small steps towards our goals. Let’s celebrate the progress we make, no matter how small it may seem. In conclusion, this New Year, let’s make a resolution to embrace our imperfections and to love ourselves just as we are. Let’s practice self-compassion, gratitude and patience and remember that we are enough, just as we are.’
Happy New Year!