?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Boom-de-yadda
There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
resolutions don't work 
26th-Aug-2008 09:39 am
zenzap
I have now spent fifty-five years in resolving, having, from the earliest time almost that I can remember, been forming schemes of a better life. I have done nothing. The need of doing, therefore, is pressing, since the time of doing is short. О God, grant me to resolve aright, and to keep my resolutions.
— Samuel Johnson, 1704
Comments 
28th-Aug-2008 11:49 am (UTC)
It's nice to know (a) that this is not a new problem, and (b) that better people than I have wrestled with it. The problem, I think, is not a lack of resolve, but conflicting incentives. If I eat badly, I'll gain weight and maybe have a heart attack when I'm 50, but it tastes delicious today. If I go to law school, I'll (maybe) be able to make a lot more money, but I'll have to work really hard and live very frugally today. That's why the only good way to accomplish a long-term goal is to break it into discrete, measurable sub-goals, attach a timetable to them, and hire an "enforcer" to penalize you if you don't meet them. My $100/month that Amy gives in my name to right-wing pressure groups if I don't meet my weight loss goal makes me think twice before putting the wrong thing in my mouth (at least when I'm not traveling). Nothing else I've tried works as well. And I don't think I'm atypical (well, I am, but not in that way).

Preaching to the choir, I'm sure...

28th-Aug-2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
the only good way to accomplish a long-term goal is to break it into discrete, measurable sub-goals, attach a timetable to them, and hire an "enforcer" to penalize you if you don't meet them.

Actually, I couldn't disagree more strongly.

I'm at a point where a lot of the things I've spent decades struggling with, knowing I need to change them, I ought to change them, I'd be better off if I changed them, etc., etc., etc. — I'm becoming able to let go of them, instead of fighting to push them away. I'm getting to a place of being able to consider an action or a choice and know, really truly know deep down at a bone-and-gut level, no, you're not working for me, and I'm ready to stop fighting the same old fight and try another way.

Some of the tools that have helped me get here:


The idea that one can punish oneself into being a better person is one of the main sources of suffering. Paradoxically, by letting go of the high standards I held for how I ought to be, I'm more able to make choices that are healing and compassionate for me.
29th-Aug-2008 06:43 am (UTC)

Ah, but I'm not punishing myself. I'm making Amy punish me. :-) Seriously, though, all I'm doing is changing the incentives around to where I have a strong incentive to do the right thing. I've never had high standards for myself. I'm lazy and tend to overeat, I've always been that way, and I had no moral qualms about it. It was the results I didn't like. Now, being lazy and overeating comes at a significant, short-term cost, so I'm changing. It's actually surprisingly easy.

I didn't mean to suggest that my method would work for everyone; I hate it when the born-agains do that with Jesus. :-)

This page was loaded Apr 21st 2018, 10:43 pm GMT.