Share Tweet

The New Year's "Resolutionists"

December 26, 2006
TR Associates
A friend and I were discussing New Year's resolutions when the conversation turned to a pledge his company used to impose on all employees who traveled on company business. Appropriately, it was called the "Traveler's Pledge". The long version went like this:

I will not drink.

...but if I drink, I will not get drunk.

...but if I get drunk, I will not stagger.

...but if I stagger, I will not fall down.

...but if I fall down.....

I will fall FACE DOWN so no one can read my company name tag.

It was later shortened to this:

I won't smoke and I won't drink or associate with those who stink.

You may be asking, "What does that have to do with New Year's Resolutions?" For one thing, it illustrates the absurdity of imposing open-ended or unreasonable restrictions on yourself or someone else -- restrictions that have little chance of being obeyed if the "pledger" encounters circumstances beyond his control. That isn't to say the above "pledges" aren't noble in intent, it just means resolutions or pledges should meet certain minimum criteria.

1. Keep them simple...otherwise, you might forget them or be inclined to "push the poorly defined envelope", or worse, -- not that YOU would -- "CHEAT.

2. Make them achievable. If you weight 350 pounds, don't resolve to be in a size 8 in time for your new swimsuit or jogging togs.

3. Make them positive; it's easier to keep an "I WILL do something" than it is to keep an "I WON'T do something" resolution.

4. Don't make more than you can stand to violate; otherwise, you will have defeated the purpose of making them.

Remember, making and keeping reasonable resolutions can serve you well by helping you face specific areas in your life where you struggle, much the way a business plan or a budget serves to guide you along life's highways. Composed properly and kept, they can help you grow. I don't need to state the downside; we are all familiar with it.

There are two kinds of New Year's "Resolutionists":

1. Those who have made them and admit they have broken them, and

2. Liars.

Why not create a new category: those who have learned from the past and won't make those mistakes again? We may still break them again, but at least we will have tried, and we will be the better for having made a genuine effort. I'm willing; are you?

1,005 - 1 - 0 - US