03 January, 2012


I guess it's time to think about resolutions, my New Year's Resolutions.

I've made only a few in my life, and in each case they re-
presented needed change. Evidently, however, being resolute
was not a sufficient condition. Yes, there was a modicum
of success with the desired changes, and for a time my
behaviors improved. Before long, though, they re-
turned to baseline - as we behaviorists are wont to
say, and defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. Sigh. Oops. Alas. Woe is me. Now what?

So I find myself torn about making any resolutions. After all, why bother if ultimately they don't work? I joked the other day that perhaps I should resolve to make no resolutions. The problem with that, of course, is that it is doomed to failure. Ipso facto.

Resolutions don't work for most people because the word "resolution" is in the same category as the word "diet." Each implies that we can make some temporary changes for a brief period, and everything will be better. Then we are surprised when - after some initial progress - we find ourselves back where we started. Long lasting change requires hard work.

Nevertheless, we are blessed once a year with a chance to make a fresh start - to begin anew with a clean slate, and I think we should take advantage of that gift. If I could, I would build a huge stone circle to tell me when a new annual cycle was beginning. That way if I weren't invited to a New Year's Eve pary, I could still know when my slate was once again about to be cleaned.

If nothing else, January represents a good time to reflect on what's working in our lives and what isn't. It's certainly an opportunity to consider what we might do better.

In that scenario, resolutions proper might not be necessary. If you, however, are the type whom these public or private commitments help motivate, then by all means go for it. Make your resolutions.

For me, simply taking time for some critical self-reflection on how I'm doing is more important. It's in the identification of those areas of my life where I can do better that I find the significance, and making a formal resolution holds little value for me. I guess it's the thought that counts.

For those of you who think I'm missing out, I'll make one, I guess - sort of an über resolution. I resolve to do better which in my mind means to be better. Or, at least I resolve to think about that - to be better at BEing. Wish me luck.

Oh ... by the way ... if I'm honest ... shedding a few pounds and exercising wouldn't hurt either.