The Great Resolution Debate

A caramel latte at 8 o’clock last night sounded like a good idea. My body, on the other hand, was like “CAFFEINE!! INSOMNIA!!! HUZZAH!!!” Alas. At least it gave me plenty of time to dream up creative writing ideas and think of new blog post topics.

One of which is: The Great Resolution Debate.

(I feel like that phrase needs to be spoken aloud by a Medieval jousting announcer with a bugle 🙂 )

I would absolutely love for you guys to leave comments with your perspectives on this matter. From my experience, it seems like more and more people these days eschew new year’s resolutions as being misguided, banal, and even pointless. Almost beneath them, really.

Which is way different than how I remember resolutions being talked about when I was growing up. I recall discussing new year’s resolutions to be a topic of friendly conversation around this time of year. Which is not to say that I recall everyone I knew making a list of 100 resolutions and sobbing the first time one was broken. But I certainly don’t remember anyone — either in person or in the media — scoffing at them as childish and silly.

In fact, I want to say it was in the early 2000’s that I first recall hearing an interview with some celebrity replying with a self righteous chuckle to a reporter who asked about his new year’s resolutions.

I don’t believe in new year’s resolutions. If I want to become a better man, I won’t wait until January 1st to start.

At that time, I recall thinking to myself, “Whoa! How novel, how erudite, how deep.” Then again, at the time I also thought I was too cool for any reading lighter than Kafka and any writing that wasn’t poetry. Confession: I was a bit of an intellectual snob in my early teens.

Fast forward to this new years, and now I feel like the cultural tide is totally changed. Now it feels like announcing one’s new year’s resolutions is tantamount to publicly admitting to be a member of some unenlightened sheeple.

Now it feels like it’s only socially acceptable to say “I don’t believe in resolutions.” Much in the way that many people of faith now (snobbishly, I think) say, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.”

So, my question is, what’s so wrong with new year’s resolutions? I mean, I haven’t made one in goodness knows how many years. But still, why the snobbery?

Since resolutions or personal enhancements are by definition, well, personal, I’ve never understood why there’s even a debate at all about “believing” in their worth. I can totally understand the argument that setting too many strict standards at once can easily lead to unnecessary guilt when a new rule is broken. I can also totally understand the argument that it seems a bit silly to only proclaim resolutions once a year, rather than start a new habit at any point.

But those arguments are rarely what I seem to hear out of the anti-resolution crowd. It’s more just a sense of self-righteous othering. I’m not one of those fools who makes new years resolutions. I’m wiser than that.

Here’s an actual quote that a friend of mine posted on Facebook:

No, new year, new me. No resolutions. Improvements continued from last year:

  • Increased self awareness and continued learning about life and love.
  • More writing.
  • Stronger relationships.
  • Continued health lifestyle with some indulgences.
  • Travel to experience new culture and cuisine.
  • Continue to ‘Do what you love and the right people will be a part of your life.’

The post garnered oodles of likes, with comments like “Well said! No more resolutions!” and “I agree! Resolutions are silly! This is brilliant!”

Meanwhile, I have to wonder if I’m not the only one who read his list thinking, “…but….but….these are resolutions. You’re just not starting them fresh on January 1st, 2016. So why not drop the snobbery and call a spade a spade?”

I didn’t post that as a comment, of course, because that would have been a tad rude, and I capital L-O-A-T-H-E loathe engaging in any manner of Internet debate, no matter how innocuous the topic.

I guess in my opinion, there should be no snobbery around self improvement goals, no matter what day of the year they’re begun, or whether they’re called resolutions or not.

On that note, here are my goals for 2016. Call them resolutions, call them goals, call them whatever. I’m too pragmatic to care about the vocabulary. What I care about is giving myself targets that are concrete enough to be easily measurable. So, without further ado:

  • Donate the clothes I haven’t worn in over a year to a charity shop. This is paramount on my list, and I really have no excuse for not doing it post haste.
  • Finish a preliminary draft of my novel by the end of the year. This is my most daunting goal. Which is one reason I’m setting it! If we limit ourselves to only target what we think we can do, we’ll never see truly how high we can soar.
  • Compete in my second full marathon, and finish my tenth half marathon. (I’ve done seven 1/2’s, so that means I need to do three in 2016.)
  • Try my hand (feet?) at racewalking. I’m a steady runner who can get divisional medals in 5k’s but nothing longer, but I think I could be pretty good at racewalking. We’ll see.

Tell me, what are your thoughts on the great resolution debate? If you have set out any goals for the year (or just in general), please share them!

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10 comments

  1. Tough stuff, I never really make New Year’s resolutions but not out of any righteous reason, I just always forget about it. I think for this year I will finish and submit my fourth novel (the submit part is where I need the resolution, putting my work out there to be rejected is tough).

    Liked by 1 person

    • For the past several years, I’ve been the same. I haven’t avoided making resolutions simply to not make resolutions. It’s more been forgetfulness or laziness on my part, ha! Congrats on your goal — that sounds wonderful! And yes, I feel you about putting work out there. The last time I did that was not pleasant at all, but I have to remind myself that that’s all part of the process.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! what deep thoughts you have . Actually, I also don’t really believe in these resolutions stuff and even, I haven’t made any in years . In fact, I don’t even care what time is it of the year to do something new !

    Liked by 1 person

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