Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Resolution Will Not Be Televised

Maybe Mick and Keith were saying the same thing as the Wizard of Oz:
"Pay NO ATTENTION to That Man Behind the Curtain!"

Time once again when our thoughts turn to New Year's Resolutions. Something I never put much stock in as an adolescent, but eventually I recognized many things I wanted to improve upon. I gave it a try and admittedly had little or no success. When the next year rolled around, there they were again. I notice standing in line impatiently behind them are more issues that have cropped up, requiring attention. Hmmm...take a number?

I try to convince myself "this year will be different." I try to analyze the reasons for past failures and how to avoid them. Aiming too high. Diluting my resolve on too many targets. Giving up because it was easier than putting out effort. Letting a slip here or there provide an excuse to bail.

But I think there are two reasons that most resolutions fail: First - there's nothing all that magical about New Year's Day. After all, it is a day like every other in most respects, and not everyone's New Year begins on January 1 anyway. Success can only be measured by the day at hand, so why not start today? Second - all too often we fool ourselves into thinking we can go it alone. How conveniently irrational! A built-in lack of accountability too! Too arrogant, momentarily confident or proud to ask for help when more often than not, it would gladly be given. Chances of success increase dramatically.

When I was young I couldn't reach the first branch of the big oak tree at the end of our driveway. But I'd ask a friend for a "boost".  Once the first branch was grasped I could climb as high as the others would hold me - to a place where the sun filtered through the canopy and the tree swayed gently in the breeze. I looked out over the cornfields from a place where there was no need for resolutions. A perch I couldn't have reached without the help of friend. Why was is it so much easier to ask then?

This year my goal is to pay it forward each day and seek nothing in return - "untelevised."


  1. Nice post.....This year I am going to become a millionaire and find a cure for Cancer and AIDs and lose 4 stone in weight so I can climb the higher branches of that tree.......Honest!

  2. Wishing you all the success in the New Year.

  3. what a lovely post i like to pay it forward you never know what blessings you bestow on people whrn you do. have a happy new year

  4. I think you're absolutely right about why New Year's resolutions often don't work and what it takes to REALLY make a change that will last in your life. Changing your habits takes work and dedication, not an obligatory oath to a day on the calendar. (I quit smoking 4 1/2 years ago, which taught me so much about bad habits, addictions, and the dedication and psychology it takes to overcome them.)

    Pay it forward. Man. I don't usually do New Year's resolutions, but that one... I might just have to jump on that band wagon. Seriously, Rusk, I don't think you could make a more worthy commitment than that. :)

  5. @becca: and the beauty is, you don't need to.

    @firespark: The other day I let a guy in to traffic. He gave me the Vulcan salute! I'm not a trekkie per se (despite my comment on your post, really), but no one's ever done that before. It was pretty cool.