Resolving to Make No Resolutions.

So, it is now 2012, and I wish all who may read this a very happy and wonderful New Year. It is around this time that most of us make some kind of resolution about how we are going to change our behaviour. But, psychologically speaking, if what I've gleaned from a quick scroll over the internet is true, such efforts to shift our lifestyles may be doomed to failure. By giving ourselves goals which are sometimes unrealistic we condemn ourselves to disappointment.
Indeed, the whole issue of goal setting is, psychologically, a complex one. People have written whole, very weighty, books on the subject. But, to grind it down to just one or two principles, it seems that when setting ourselves some form of goal it should, first and foremost, be achievable and realistic. So, as we are often advised by mental health services, instead of trying to achieve your resolution in one giant leap, try to break it down into smaller, more realistic, aims. For example, if you want, as I do, to learn something new (a new language, perhaps) just start by setting yourself the goal of maybe looking on the internet for available courses in your area. This way, by breaking your goal down first into a smaller, achievable, constituent part, you will probably have more success. The achievement of this first goal should then lead you on to a second realistic aim, and so on and so on.
It is also advisable to perhaps set yourself a time limit for the achievement of your goal. So, having first broken your resolution down into smaller, realistic aims, you could give yourself, say, two weeks to get this first aim done. This way you can chart your progress and see a real advancement towards your ultimate goal.
This is advice we often get from mental health services, and which may prove useful to some who want to change their behaviour in some way or try something new. Many of us, though, are not that great at goal setting and actually achieving resolutions, and so, this year, my resolution may be to make no resolutions at all. Indeed, many of us, fed up by not achieving our goals, may end up like the chap in the painting by Philip Guston below, lying down, smoking and surrounded by the food we said we were going to eat less of.
"Painting, Smoking, Eating", by Philip Guston. (1973).
So, as a new year dawns, I wish all of you the very best of luck in actually achieving your resolutions. As for me, I will, as I say, perhaps resolve to make no resolutions. I'm going to let life just wash over me, I think, and suck up as much as I can on the way, or, in the words of the old song, que sera, sera, whatever will be will be.  


GEM said…
Happy New year David!

I've decided no resolutions this year to avoid any disappointment. I mean if i could keep them i wouldn't need to be making new ones every year! I did alot and changed alot last year that I didn't make any resolution to do so this year I'm happy to just sit back and enjoy where I am in life and let things just happen. All the best for 2012.

Take Care

The Manic Chef said…
David, I'm in total agreement with you, I may desire to make change, but it is usually to no avail. I mean if I can't do it during the rest of the year, why try doing it on the dawn of a new one....go figure! Thanks for the confirmation, all the best to you in the New Year! See I'm still here, but in the background........later!
dcrelief said…
Hi David.
Traditions; everyone wants traditions, and yet here are three people before me that have set aside the absurdity of the 'once-a-year-super-duper-goal."
When people ask me, 'what's your new year resolution, I tell them, "Listening to yours." Sure enough, straight way they begin describing the most torturous adventure. If nothing else I become lulled by their speech pattern, and finding myself snoozing. One must take her beauty sleep when she can, LOL.
Happy New Year and I hope that we continue being blog-mates!
In peace,
klahanie said…
Dear David,
And welcome to the leap year that is 2012.
Of course, I've heard it all before about breaking down your goals into smaller, realistic, more achievable outlooks. Don't want to get disappointed.
Like you may just do, I have made a resolution to not make resolutions and see how things work out.
And speaking about learning another language, I can teach you a bit of Canadian eh :)
All the very best and may this be a peaceful, positive New Year to all those who read your words of wisdom. And even those, perish the thought, that have not read your articulate musings.
Happy New Year, David.
With kind wishes and a stuffed rabbit, your way, Gary....
David said…
Dear Gem,
A very happy New Year to you, too, and thank you for popping over.
I read your latest post and it does indeed seem that you have already changed and done a lot. Good on you, I say, for being so brave and decisive.
Anyway, hoping you continue to have a great adventure in Russia. Give my love to Putin (or maybe, don't!).
With Very Best Wishes,
David said…
Dear Manic Chef,
Great to hear from you and I'm glad to know you are still around "in the background", as it were.
All the best for 2012,
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Thank you for your comment, and the thought that you might go to sleep while listening to others' resolutions had me laughing. As you say, one must get one's beauty sleep when one can!
And of course, I'm sure we will remain the best of blogging pals.
Yours with Very Best Wishes and a great 2012, your way,
David said…
Dear Gary,
And thank you for your own witty and wonderful words of wisdom! I've always wanted to learn Canadian, eh.
Very Best Wishes and a wonderful 2012 your way, my friend,
bazza said…
Hello David. Theses are wise words indeed.
It is very true about breaking goals down to achievable and manageable segments. What I have found is that it's best to make a resolution at any time other than at New Year.
Right now at this very moment is best! Also....dieting makes one fat!
Happy New Year!
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’
David said…
Dear bazza,
Thanks for the comment.
It does indeed seem wise to not make any resolutions at New Year, prone as we are to failing to keep them.
Anyway, hope you had a good New Year bash,and all the best for 2012,

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