New Year’s Resolution Fail

Hi F&F,

It is January 3, 2012 and I am happy to say that I am exactly the same person I was at 11:59 pm on December 31, 2011. I’m still the same flawed yet functional (and occasionally dysfunctional) person I’ve always been; and I am still living with, and loving with the same flawed and functional (and occasionally dysfunctional) people in my life.

Over the last several days every form of media has carried some story about New Year’s resolutions. They have been giving us top 10 lists of resolutions; tips on how to make your resolutions; tips on how not to break your resolutions; etc., etc. If you saw them (how could you not?!), you might have observed that they are nearly the same stories that were posted last year. The reason, for this media proliferation and reiteration of this subject, is to contend with what I’ve been calling the inescapable, inexorable and inevitable New Year’s Resolution Fail.

Making New Year’s resolutions, year after year, is insanity; and we all would be better off if we “name it and claim it”, and move on. I’m no genius but, I feel confident in my statement because, my hero, Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Year after year we pinpoint this time on the calendar to make life altering declarations and to enact substantive changes in our life; only to fall short. We then feel ashamed and then we become discouraged.

We fail, but we are not failures. Our intentions and inclinations are spot-on target. It’s our timing that is off. The self-evaluation process that can prompt us to enact life changes is very important. I also believe the adage that timing is everything.  Going through the performance appraisal and goal setting process (you can take the girl out of Human Resources, but you can’t take Human Resources out of the girl) should not take place during the holiday season. It is just bad timing.  We should never try to make meaningful life altering changes when we are still in the throes of the holiday season.  The Halo effect will be at work and our judgment will be impaired.

Say you had a fantastic holiday – you were invited to all the best parties; the boss gave you a year-end bonus; you got some pretty cool gifts; like I said – fantastic.  You are coming through the holidays on a note so high only dogs can hear it.  You are big stuff; right? Here’s the truth of it – this is temporary and as they say in my neighborhood – “you are not all that”.

Say you had a disappointing holiday – you were feeling lonely, you were overwrought, overeating, overspending, etc. You are coming through the holidays feeling less than lovable. A low note that you think everyone, including the dogs, can hear. You are worthless; right? Here’s the truth of it – this is temporary and as they say in my neighborhood – “you are not all that”.

Both of these scenarios don’t reveal the “truth of us” or the “truth in us”. If we go into the resolution making process with either of these outlooks we are committing a crime; an RWI (Resolving While Impaired). Any resolution we develop while impaired is destined to crash and burn.

Friends don’t let friends “resolve” while impaired. I’m pleading with you. I want you to be safe, successful and happy in 2012. Step away from that resolution list. I suggest you abstain from resolving until March or April; avoiding February; as Valentines Day can be a minefield for some of us and is a subject worthy of its own blog post.



About atreegrowsinbklyn

I’m an analog girl living in a digital world. I’m happy except when I’m sad. I’m serious, smart and sophisticated except when I’m silly, obtuse and crude. I’m ambitious and disciplined; except when I’m apathetic and self indulgent. I‘m thoughtful, generous and honest; except when I’m insensitive, cheap and lying. I’m grateful; I’m grateful; I am grateful.
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12 Responses to New Year’s Resolution Fail

  1. ceceliafutch says:

    Not what I expected from the title! MUCH better! 🙂 Great post. As I have said for years, we are “perfectly imperfect!”

  2. Touch2Touch says:

    This is right on, Tree. The New Year’s Resolve bit is a failure from the get-go, and I LOVE how you characterize it as Resolving while impaired.
    All of it’s silly, anyway, because of what you say in your opening (and in your about): you are the same person you always were, good/bad, lazy/industrious, all the pairs that make up you. Resolving is a matter of everyday trying to do your best, since your best is all you can do anyway!

    I remember a wise old monk saying to me musingly, Perfection is not a Christian virtue. I don’t think it’s a virtue for anybody, frankly.

    Like Cecilia, let’s go with Perfectly Imperfect. That makes three of us, a good start on a trinity????

  3. NYcowgirl says:

    My humble theory is that we set too many goals in January, therefore, we fail. I try to stick to one or two goals and work at them.

    • Hi L,

      It’s a valid theory. I believe when we are feeling overly confident we overreach our abilities and when we are feeling flawed we are desperate to be fixed; looking for the big fix.

      I wish you success.

      Happy New Year,

  4. Contentment is rarely on anyone’s resolution list, is it? Being rooted where you are and flourishing like a tree growing in Brooklyn…now that’s a worthy resolution!

    • Hi Quirky,

      Thanks for your thoughtful commments. Ah, contentment is the most beautiful word and concept to me; even more beautiful than “happy”. Happy is so one dimensional and fleeting. Contentment centers you within all that it is to be human. I’m always making adjustments to find the contentment point in a situation. I say it is finding the “Amen within the anxiety”.


  5. eof737 says:

    I’m with you on this one… Out with the resolutions. In with pure action and a reality check. 🙂 ♥Happy ♥New ♥Year ♥To ♥You! 😉

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