I generally hate New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because experience has taught me that I will fail to carry through. I don’t like failing.
It seems that we usually pick for resolutions something about which we are conflicted. The resolution may be about losing weight, which is the conflict of habit and genetics against a health or aesthetic ideal. Or it may be about exercising, or getting enough sleep, or devoting time for personal scripture study and meditation, or it may be about losing weight. Most Mormons are able to avoid the common resolutions about drinking and smoking less, but we still want to spend more time with our families, get out of debt, and volunteer more.
But this year, in a moment of inspiration, I hit upon a resolution for this year, one that I believe I can actually keep. Here’s the rub though: I can’t tell you what it is. This isn’t like blowing out the candles on your birthday cake and not telling anyone the wish because if you do, it won’t come true. It’s because speaking the resolution would be a violation of the resolution.
For example, let’s say I had some difficulty getting along with a family member in the past, and my resolution is to not complain about that person any more. By saying, “My resolution is to complain about X,” I am actually in a passive aggressive way complaining about X. Saying that I’m not complaining implies that there is some grievance worth complaining about, and the resolution, while upheld technically, is spiritually shattered.
So my resolution this year is similar to the “not complaining about family members resolution.” I feel really good about this resolution and think that it will be good for me personally and the people around me. And it is something that is doable, provided I don’t tell anyone what it is (except my husband, but he already knows).
But I’m not sure if my inspired goal can count as a resolution if I can’t talk about it at a New Year’s Eve party (or on a blog post, because given the lovely virus I got for Christmas, I’m currently not fit company for any social gathering). Part of me cynically believes the resolutions exist largely for the sake of small talk while waiting for the ball to drop.
And that is why I save my real resolutions about changing habits for Lent. It’s far easier to be successful in keeping a resolution for forty days than it is for a whole year, and after more than a month, patterns are reset, so if I want to continue on a new track, it is much more likely that I will be able to do so.
So what are your resolutions for the new year? Or, if you would like to think ahead on a more modest scale, what do you intend to do for Lent?
I think you make a great point about how we typically make resolutions about things we’re conflicted about. Perhaps because I’m a lazy person, and don’t like thinking about things I’m conflicted about, I don’t make many formal resolutions anymore.
And I’m interested in your new resolution, although I understand why you wouldn’t be able to reveal it. If I see you suddenly being all nice to jettboy, I’ll know why. :)
I like to take the opportunity for introspection, but I don’t like to make “resolutions”. This year, I happened across several blogs that discussed a “word of 2013”, and I really liked this concept, so as part of my reflection process, I picked “discover” as my word for the year, and I feel really good about it. I’ll be heading to Europe to live this year, and I’ve never been overseas before, so it’s easy to have small-talk about, but I also intend this year to be one of spiritual and personal discovery.