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Don't Make New Year's Resolutions
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Why wait for some arbitrary date before changing? If I want to stop something bad, or start something good, I take action immediately. But that’s not why I’m recommending that you don’t make resolutions.
The date might be arbitrary, after all, why not the first day of every month? Or every weekend? Since much of the world sees some hope in the appearance of a new year, a chance to wipe away and forgive the past and to embrace the potential of the new, almost nobody who makes resolutions at this time keeps them. You only have to look at smoking take up, or gyms emptying by the end of January to know that most people forget their resolutions as quickly as they forget that they always forget.
The fact is, it is a New Year, and this does represent an opportunity to start with a clean slate. It is possible to use this arbitrary date to say to yourself that this time it’s going to be different. One way to make it stick is to drop the word “resolution”. It’s not a great word, is it? “Resolved” seems one step away from “resigned”, doesn’t it? As in “I’ve resigned myself to going without chocolate”. How long do you think we’ll stick with that? I think of steely resolve, or even grim-faced resolve. It’s not exactly inspiring.
Let’s try a better word. Let’s try “intend”.
“I intend to exercise for half an hour every single day, before noon, no matter what.”
Another good word is promise. Especially to someone whose judgment you respect.
“I promise you that I will lose 10% of my current bodyweight this year, and if I break my promise, I insist that the £100 I’ve given you in escrow be given to this organisation that I despise and that you mention this on Twitter”
Let’s all be more intentional about the words we use this year. God knows we need more of that.
Happy New Year, and if you like this newsletter, please encourage others to subscribe. You will? Great! Do you promise?