Dec 182013

I don’t understand the point of New Year’s Resolutions. They seem specifically engineered to prevent people from accomplishing things, and feel bad about it.

If you want to do something – do it. Don’t set artificial limits on yourself. Do you want to start working out? Why put it off for another three weeks until some magical date has passed? What better day than today?

I mean that seriously. If there IS a better day, then do it that day. Are you are a point where you are extremely stressed for time, or very low on energy (perhaps due to sickness)? Then it makes sense to wait. But if there is no compelling reason to delay then you should not delay. You have an advantage in the present moment because your attention is already on your goal, and it might not be later. Exploit that advantage. Doing so, you’ll also gain the benefits of reaching your goal sooner than you otherwise would have.

It seems that New Year’s Resolutions are just ways for people to signal that they WANT to want something. But they don’t ACTUALLY want it. If you ACTUALLY want to get in shape, or write a book, an arbitrary date will not stop you. You’ll start now, even if the day you switched to actually wanting it was three days before New Year’s Day. Fuck waiting three more days, why the hell should I? I want to start making progress now.

Making a resolution, on the other hand, is a way to signal to others “I want to want to be in shape. So I’ll pretend to act like someone who actually wants that. For a few weeks.”

Unfortunately, afterwards people abandon their resolutions, because they never really wanted them in the first place. And they are hit with a crushing dissappointment – they often feel like failures or dropouts. This is a mistake – they did not fail at their goal, because they were never really persuing it. You should not feel bad for not doing something you didn’t want to do anyway. In fact, you shouldn’t have wasted your time and effort pretending to want it. Spend that on your actual goals.

Be honest with yourself. Persue what you want. Ignore the rest. If you’re setting a goal at an arbitrary time defined by someone else, this is a good sign that you don’t actually want that. Don’t make New Years Resolutions. They’re a sucker’s game.

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