April doesn’t have to be the cruelest month at all


“Healthy Living” by Carl Hendrickson
For the Call

“April is the cruelest month.”  Those words from T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” come to mind when the calendar turns to April Fool’s Day.

Carl Hendrickson

Why? Don’t April showers bring May flowers? Isn’t April the time when winter turns to spring? Why would T.S. Eliot call it the cruelest month?

In an article in the Toastmaster Magazine last year (January 2017), the author suggests that by April the poet Eliot had realized that he would not fulfill the resolutions he made in January. Eliot had joined a gym in January to get physically fit. Every time the gym-membership card was used it was to be punched.

Every day was punched in January and almost all the days in February.  In March, only a quarter of the days were punched.

By April, however, there were no days at the gym. The poet had failed to live up to his January resolve. Thus April became his cruelest month.

There have been other interpretations of the meaning of Eliot’s words.  I am neither a poet nor a scholar of his writings, so I have no opinion on what he actually meant. But if you, like T.S. Eliot, have failed to fulfill your resolutions, let me offer some suggestions.

Excellence is a habit. Change is possible if we are willing to stretch ourselves mentally and emotionally.  Resolutions made can be achieved.  But it takes aspiration, dedication and energy.   

By understanding the reason for failure, one can envision what it takes to turn a dream, a hope, a resolution into reality.

A resolution, a dream, a hope kept secret is easily broken. If no one is aware of our goal, then no one will know when we fail. It is easier to make excuses for failure to ourselves than to others.  Tell others.  They can provide encouragement.

Establish a step-by-step plan of action to achieve your goal.  Often we fail because we are vague about how we will achieve the dream, the hope, the resolution.

After you have told another or others of your goal and have put together your plan of action, do not forget to review your progress from time to time.

It is easy to get sidetracked, so you need to periodically review how well you are doing.

If progress is not as expected, do not get discouraged. Your review will help you get back on track.

April doesn’t have to be the cruelest month after all.