New Year’s Resolutions are like spam, dreams of financial gain or weight loss without form to re-enforce their promises.
In writing a previous post I had the above epiphany. It was to be my closure, but it struck a chord. It is simple, memorable, but with more than a grain of truth. So after some discussion with Cris, decided to give it a story of its own.
So why am I having a hard time writing? Both Spam and New Years Resolutions are common enough in our culture. Maybe it’s because no one really takes either one very seriously. The average person gets 7 or more pieces of spam a day. And experience shows how few people actually believe them, all being sent unread to the digital trash. Can the same not be said for New Year’s Resolutions? Look at how long most people keep them. I was making my first resolutions at age 10, only to be broken within 3 months.
There are similarities though in how they play with our psyches. Both encourage the impulse for a quick fix, but usually only end up helping someone else. How healthy do you think your retirement fund is going to be if you chase after “pump and dump” stocks? Or are you expecting that inheritance from a mysterious prince? It’s easy enough to ride that horse to death, so I’ll stop.
So why do we then lie to ourselves about future changes in actions, when we refuse to maintain the needed willpower to follow through? Maybe my google-fu is weak but I couldn’t find any research on how long people take to decide on their resolutions. But in the beginning of December, co-workers usually starting asking each other “what are your resolutions for next year”? Most of the time, people get that look of concentration, do a cursory self evaluation, and choose the least painful thing to promise. So few put actual thought into these “life changes”, requesting more time for serious contemplation.
This is why Cris and I both advocate that people should instead plan out their goals, approaching them as an integral part of life. Usually the same whims that lead you towards fitness are those that can cause you to stumble.