As someone who disappoints himself regularly throughout any given year, I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. There was no need to loudly declare intentions that for sure would go down the drain within a week.
Something changed in 2015. I didn’t have resolutions set at the beginning of the year, but I did work hard to silence this inner cynic that I have lived with as long as I can remember. I sort of blame being in Generation X, the most cynical generation that ever existed. If it is popular, we for sure give it the old side-eye. Everything is loved ironically. There is very little earnest acceptance of anything.
It’s tiresome. I just want to be able to watch Miley Cyrus perform on Jimmy Fallon and admit out loud to people that I enjoyed the hell out of it. Honestly, if you don’t find this video charming and catchy, your soul is bruised.
So in 2015, my inner sneer was tamed. It felt like the right time to declare that I want to behave differently in 2016. Loudly. In public. These three resolutions work together to buffer me from disappointment, all in service to the first one, if I am being honest.
1. AIM FOR BEING METICULOUS.
Have you watched the show HANNIBAL? Probably not, the audience for the show was too small to keep it going past the third season. WATCH IT. It’s amazing, I promise (unless you don’t handle blood well. SO MUCH BLOOD). Hannibal Lecter is a horrible monster, but I have to hand it to him, he is the model for control and meticulous behavior, something that, as someone with ADHD, I found very compelling. I have a habit of coasting, putting in C level work, not pushing myself to perform at the level I could reach with more effort. I’m coasting.
So while I won’t reach the clean-cut, exacting precision of a fictional television character, I do intend to do things with more purpose than I ever have, to actually pay attention to what it is I do. Today I cleaned the house, and at one point tossed one of Stella’s dresses into her drawer. I then decided it needed to be worth the time for me to fold it properly and put it back. Little decisions I made all day today along these lines made me feel outstanding as I sit here in the late evening typing this out and having an adult beverage. Do things with an eye for quality.
2. REMEMBER THAT THESE CHOICES NEED TO BE MADE CONSTANTLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
Without question, almost by the minute, we make choices. Each one is an opportunity for me to pay attention to what I COULD do next that would be an improvement on what I would normally, sloppily, thoughtlessly choose. I don’t expect I am going to kill it on every decision, but if I can learn to pay attention to them as they happen, maybe I will make more careful choices throughout a given day than the lazy ones I am used to making.
3. DON’T BE DISCOURAGED BY SETBACKS.
Because seriously, if I get a chance minute-by-minute to make a more thoughtful choice than I did before, I don’t have time to bother beating myself up if I choose poorly for some chunk of time. Guess what? More decisions down the pipeline, being discouraged accomplishes nothing.
So yes, while it would be great to lose X amount of pounds, or learn to play the guitar, this feels like a modest start, one that protects me from disappointment and allows for good habits to form. If I can make thoughtful choices more often than lazy ones throughout the day, then things like weight loss will sort itself out without me having to force it as a priority.
So here is to good habits and a willingness to put my intention out there even though I might find myself in the same situation next year. I can at least say that I tried, and that is not nothing.
Unless you are Yoda, but that Jedi was an asshole.