Resolutions or Not?

It’s December 28.  Almost New Years Day.  Let the debate begin.  Resolutions or Not?

startSince I started Bud’s Blog back in 2009, I have posted my New Years Resolutions here every year.   Some years, at this point in the year I have given myself a report card on how well I did living up to my resolutions.  To be quite honest, I don’t remember what I resolved last year which is probably a harbinger of poor grades for 2013.   Maybe we’ll talk about that in a day or two.  For now, let’s talk about the resolutions themselves.  If you go back and visit my resolutions for the past four years, you’ll see quite a few repeats.  For example, you’ll see Meditate ____ times a week (the number depends on the year).  Meditation is a practice that clearly contributes to my peace of mind.   It is also a practice that I regularly skip.  I have art supplies and musical instruments gathering dust at various locations in our home and they usually appear in my New Years resolutions, too.  Play more.  Paint more.  You get the point.  I was talking to Muri last night over dinner and she told me that Phil McGraw says that if you make the same New Years resolutions year after year, then maybe they are not for you.  Phil McGraw.  Dr. Phil.  Celebrity Doofus.  But could he be right?  I don’t think so.  To my way of thinking, a goal shouldn’t be jettisoned just because it’s elusive.  If it’s a worthwhile goal, why not restate it each New Years Day?  Or maybe modify it to be more achievable.  Sometimes things take time.  Maybe this is the year.

Of course, there are those who would object to my use of goals and resolutions interchangeably and they may have a point.   A resolution is a course of action determined or decided on while a goal is the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.   Resolution: Meditate this yearGoal: Meditate 3 times a week this year.  Many of my resolutions are actually goals … there’s no kidding myself as to whether I meet them or not … but I also like to have some broader strokes to live by.    My resolutions are also written down where I can look at them … in this case, on my blog.  In, Shelly Aristizabal tells of an interesting study done at Harvard in 1953, it was determined that only 10% of students set goals and only 3% wrote those goals down.  A follow-up on the study 20 years later, it was found that the 3% who wrote down their goals were economically better off than the other 97%.  I have a friend who not only writes down his goals, he creates a goal board every year with pictures showing his goals.

Articles like Why We Don’t Keep Our New Year’s Resolutions on suggest that if you consistently make resolutions you don’t keep, you’ll end up feeling worse about yourself than if you’d never made them.  And my Mom used to say, The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  If I believed in a biblical hell, I’d say the road to hell is paved with bad intentions or maybe even no intentions.  Or even self-delusion.  But I like to have some guideposts as to where I’d like to go, even if I never get there.   And the truth is that for every resolution that falls by the wayside in March (the guitar is still covered with dust) there’s another that finally brings about change.  A few years ago, one of my resolutions was to post every day as part of WordPress Postaday … and it made me into a consistent blogger.   After years of wanting to believe in a Higher Power, a resolution to make conscious contact with God every day finally did the trick.  For me, resolutions work.  Not all of them but enough that I don’t worry about those I forget to keep.  So, somewhere in the next few days, I’ll be posting this year’s version.  You can call them resolutions or you can call them goals, just don’t call them a waste of time.

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2 Comments on “Resolutions or Not?”

  1. cherperz Says:

    My resolution for 2014 is to ignore anything Dr. Phil says. What a blowhard.

    I have read about some of the studies about writing down goals and while I believe there is truth in the correlation of writing goals and achieving them, I still tend not to actually make a list. Having a goal board seems to make it more of a chore than a desire.

    I tend to repeat resolutions, but most of my resolutions are life-long objectives, not goals to be met. I look forward to reading your list.

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