New Years Resolutions

So it’s another New Year, and resolutions are the thing. We all hope that next year will be better. Surely things can’t be as bad as this year was, we tell ourselves. And the world continues spinning it’s merry way to a chaos most can’t deal with (unless professionally medicated). But then, maybe there are some folks that just wanna watch it burn.

I didn’t used to believe in New Years resolutions. When I was very young, the first life lesson I learned was “you cannot have what you want.” Now don’t get me wrong, it is true I likely got way more of the things I wanted than I gave life credit for. But it become a core foundational belief that forty plus years of effort hasn’t entirely erased. So if you couldn’t have what you want, why want anything at all?

Why want anything, when you may be attacked by a chicken at any time…..?

So my goal in life became the abolition of desire. Buddhism, while I never converted, resonated with me in the idea that you won’t suffer if you don’t want anything. Spock was my ultimate hero before I was introduced to The Lord of the Rings. I decided that I would emulate him. I would be indifferent.

Spock was such a Chick Magnet….I tried so hard but somehow his methods did not attract chicks

Eventually a time came when I realized that this simply would not work.

  • First off we are built to feel things. We can’t shut off our emotions unless we are either on drugs or massively exhausted.
  • Second, I found that the more I tried not to feel, the more I felt. Specifically, the more I felt bad
  • Lastly….maybe a bad excuse, but I found the users, abusers, assholes and narcissists make no effort to control their feelings. The trick only works one way. You better control your feelings buster, but mine…well, mine are important. You just don’t understand how passionate I am.

These efforts only exacerbated problems with chronic depression and anxiety. Once I learned that killing my desires was essentially the same as killing myself, it was very nearly too late. Stuff happened, one abusive parent stopped abusing, the other became an alcoholic, and I….

I ended up running away from home. I’d learned how to want things. The trouble is, an alcoholic doesn’t care if you want things. I walked the four miles to town and talked to the school administrators and ended up basically in a weird in between state.

So I spent a year with my pastor. I wasn’t quite on my own, but I also wasn’t quite not. The guy did his best, and I’ll always think highly of him, but I was messed up. I had just learned to want to live, just learned to want things and pursue and achieve goals. I became a state champion speaker, president of my FCA group, and earned a National Merit Scholarship.

The story of my life goes on, and it has had ups and downs. I won’t say more about me in this post, I’m only relaying that I know both sides. I know what it is like to think that goals are a complete waste of time, and I know how it is to be driven and goal focused.

Like the successes and failures of my life, I keep going back and forth on it. One year I’m driven, another year I don’t care. Likely the lack of consistency contributes to the times when I was not at the top.

My best friend recently challenged my belief that goals are important. He queried me with “what is the goal of goals?”

While it sounds like a copout, I don’t think he meant it as such. It’s not a terrible question, and I’m not sure I have great answers. My response now would be twofold.

First, studies show that those who focus on their goals, while they rarely accomplish them, do usually get more accomplished than those who do not.

Second, to paraphrase Jordan Peterson, “What the hell else are you going to do?”

The black pit of despair is no fun place to be. So….even if it feels like a waste of time….dig out those planners. Dig out the self help books. Try to focus on even just a handful of things that you think would have a positive impact on your life. Make your bed. Clean your room. Weed your garden.

One day at a time, you can build a better life. I’ll leave a link to the ten most chosen New Years Resolutions. Look through it. Pick at least two, so that if you fail at one maybe you succeed at another. And maybe one person, one goal, one day at a time, we make this world a better place.


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