Resolved to Not

If you’ve been following along with me for the past several years you know I’m in no danger of breaking my resolutions before this week is up because I won’t be getting around to making them for a few months. (See “Be It Resolved,” Jan. 2, 2012 if you don’t remember or understand.) While I think I have a perfectly reasonable self-help program going on there (even though I seem to be actually helping myself very little most of the time), most of the world has already gone out on that New Year’s Resolution limb. And many of them armed with a chainsaw.

I was enjoying reading an article on an on-line journal yesterday when a link at the end caught my eye. It was something to the effect of why you should make “non-resolutions” this year. If you consider that “to be resolved” is a quite strong statement in that one who is resolute is adamant and unwavering  about one’s decision, to make a “non-resolution” would be to plan on faltering or even failing. Which seems to be what happens to most of our resolutions anyway. This, I thought, bears some further study. Maybe.

I clicked on the link to see what the author had in mind but what he had in mind was to sell some of his books on positive thinking and I thought I was pretty positive that I could think fairly well on my own. So I thought for a while and I think I came up with something. This “non-resolution” idea just might go somewhere.

Consider what most people resolve to do in the shadow of empty champagne bottles, pork roast remnants, more sauerkraut than was really a good idea, and still more empty champagne bottles. To lose weight. To stop drinking. To eat less sauerkraut. They are negative goals and success means not doing something. And unless you are really adept like to a professional level at problem solving, you probably do set personal goals from a negative perspective. Eat less. Reduce debt. Don’t be late for work. It’s not unnatural to our thinking because it is indeed easier to not do than to do.

A self-help expert would say to be successful you must plan positively and with a specific target or goal. You don’t resolve to lose weight you resolve to eat healthier, exercise more, and lose two pounds a week over the next 4 months. No wonder nobody ever loses weight starting in January. That’s a full time job you’re taking on there. Now what if we give those “not to” abstracts some still real measurable goals? Without changing the negative of course. Eat less becomes eat three less desserts a week or eat at McDonald’s one less time a week. You’re still planning on not doing something and you’re brain is still comfortable with that. But now you have something specific to not do and if you don’t do it you meet your goal.

Sure it’s not for everybody, but maybe it’s worth a try just so you can say you didn’t break your resolution before you took down the Christmas tree.

Or. You could resolve to make your resolutions this spring. With me. When I’m pretty positive they should be made.

That’s what I think. Really. How ’bout you?

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