Lighted mask balloon at New Year's street festivalSo you never got around to making those New Year’s Resolutions?

Nuhuh, me neither. Frankly, on New Year’s Eve I was far too busy playing Settlers of Catan with the delightful DJ and He-Who-Hogs-The-Power-Tools and Captain Morgan to bother much with introspection and plans for self-improvement.

But it’s still not too late — we’ve got 364 days ahead yet, after all, so in the worst case we can get a jump on next year.

“I have adopted the practice of stating NY resolutions in October,” says quick-starter Coughran, “so that when Jan 1 arrives I already know which were pure BS.” And if you’re at all like me, your list of resolutions for next year – if we were going to make resolutions, which I’m not saying for a minute is going to happen – are high-quality BS indeed!

In fact, the current list might look disturbingly like the very same resolutions we made back in senior year of high school, and every year since then:

  • Lose weight;
  • Lose clutter;
  • Lose a few bad habits;
  • Save time;
  • Save money;
  • Save the world;
  • Be healthy and fit;
  • Be kind and patient (especially with ill-bred idiots in positions of petty power, like (hypothetically) clerks at the motor vehicle branch);
  • Be smart and ambitious;
  • Be an oasis of calm strength in a turbulent world;
  • Be clever and creative, yet organized and self-disciplined;
  • Be more loving and giving;
  • Become wise.

Every day, in every way, better and better…
Setting ourselves up for certain failure!

[British mental health charity Mind] urged people not to make resolutions focusing on physical imperfections — such as attempting to lose weight — because they create a negative self image and lead to feelings of low self-esteem, hopelessness and even mild depression.

And when such optimistic resolutions fail, that could spark feelings of inadequacy and failure, the charity warned.

I ask you, is that any sane way to start off a New Year?
Especially one that, if the financial gurus and media headlines can be trusted, promises to be more challenging than any year we’ve woken up to yet?
Heck, no!

MsHerr asks, “Why are resolutions always about self-improvement? People should resolve to develop more vices.”

Okay… good in theory. Tempting, even! But there’s some nasty bit of cause-and-effect all ready at play here, is there not?

After all, it was the vice of gluttony — a shameless over-indulgence in chocolate, to be precise — that’s now leading us to loosen our belts and be tempted to feats of exercise and dietary self-denial. Meanwhile, the sin of sloth lets paperwork pile up on every flat surface, and emails clutter up the Inbox… and we won’t even think about the rest of the sinful list.

Steve Drees was way out ahead on this one, anyway, reporting in mid-afternoon on January 2, “I’ve already broken my 2009 resolutions, and 3 of the 10 commandments.”

So what options are left?

You know, I rather like Chris Knight‘s approach: “I don’t do New Years Resolutions: Instead, I re-commit daily to what’s most important to me. Every day is a good day to re-commit.”

Leaves lots of space to accomodate those small personal lapses, doesn’t it?

The slip-up that would otherwise be called a “failure” of will, the last-minute change in plan, the shift in direction to suit a changing world… all are accomodated if we make a series of small step-by-step one-a-day commitments, instead of great huge lumbering New Year’s Resolutions carved in stone.

Yeah, we can do that.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Oh, Jen, you know me. I’m a mathematical type of guy. The year is cyclic and any day could be new year. The actual date is just a canonical convention. Now, few people like my way to explain it, yours is much better.

    No new years resolutions for me either. Never did and never will.

  2. Ching Ya

    I don’t do NY resolutions either. It doesn’t mean I don’t do any goals, but it won’t matter whether it’s NY or not. I agree, we are constantly changing to suit the ever-changing world. I prefer to do a monthly review about what I’m doing, and if need be, make some changes on it to make sure my ultimate goal is reached. Just be better, kinder, wiser, healthier, happier.. that should always be our lifetime resolutions.

    Happy New Year!

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