Modest resolutions most potent

December 31, 2007


I stopped making tangible new year resolutions only a few years ago. Because I often never fully accomplished these goals I set for myself (or in some cases, I couldn’t even remember them at year’s end).

I didn’t learn to speak Italian in 2005, I didn’t become a nature photographer in 2004, and despite what I used to tell you in tenth grade, I’ve never done ollies past 2 feet.

It was until (truthfully, May of) 2006 when I had a resolution I actually felt strongly about adhering to consciously throughout the year. Probably because it was simple — “put most focus on my career.” Now that wasn’t a slogan I chanted everyday the second I woke up, and every night right before I went to sleep. It was a mindset with which I delegated my everyday life.

And a sense so simple proved to be an extremely powerful force that helped me accomplish titanic achievements I never imagined I would. It’s not my nature to brag, so I won’t reveal them in an explicit manner on this post. But, you know, it’s on my resume.

Then in (this time, in February of) 2007 I had made yet another seemingly vanilla resolution — “take control of my life.”

At this point you’re thinking “no sweat,” right? But believe me, this was a difficult task. Because if you think about it frankly, many outside factors determine aspects of your life. These include obligations (to family, to friends, 9-5 work, television shows), vices (drugs, alcohol, gambling), bad habits (laziness, ignorance, submissive personality), or good habits (jog in the morning, blogging, reading). And if you let these factors go out of hand then you’re essentially a string puppet to them.

Just realizing so changed me as a person. But acting on it to the best of my ability — because we all have obligations and habits — made me most comfortable I’ve ever felt in my skin. I won’t mention personal specifics again, but I must say I’ve never felt freedom like today before.

So what is my simple resolution for 08? I am not sure just yet. I think I’ll figure out for certain in a few weeks. But tentatively, I have two. One is to “be time conscious.” The second is to be like the first subject in this study by psychologist Laura A. King, who I believe has an outlook I’d like to reflect.

Here is how a woman from Dallas described the impact of an early and devastating divorce, in one of Dr. King’s studies:

“I feel fortunate in a backhanded way to have experienced misfortune as a young woman. I feel it taught me humility … and the ability to regroup. … Life is good but not lavish. It’s hard work and we have to give each other a hand once in a while.”

Another woman in the same study, who had scored lower on a measure of complexity, described her life after divorce: “What good is anything without someone to share it with? My current goal is only to make enough money to make my monthly bills without withdrawing money from my savings account.” (NYT)


4 Responses to “Modest resolutions most potent”

  1. Baekho Says:

    Those are good resolutions. The first woman’s attitude is a very good one to have—learning from her experiences, even the hard ones. And I love her last statement: “Life is hard work, and we have to give each other a hand once in a while.” Priceless words of wisdom, and priceless actions of compassion if one can put them into practice!

    In general those “vanilla resolutions” always seem to stick with us more than the more detailed lists, don’t they? I guess my own resolutions aren’t quite so vanilla, so it will be interesting to see if I can keep them.

    Anyway, congratulations on keeping your past resolutions, and best of luck with these two new ones for 2008.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Baekho! I hope I am able to keep them too.

    I hope you get a chance to read that NYT article I linked to. It says how living regretfully is detrimental to your mental health. And that you must develop to have a more complex view of your past in order to mature as a person.

    Anyways, Happy New Years to you too brotha! And catch up on your sleep dude! ;)

  3. Beaman Says:

    I made one resolution back in 1990 and I’ve managed to keep it ever since. I vowed ‘to never make New Year’s resolutions again!’. ;)

  4. Baeman,

    Congrats on maintaining a resolution for 18 years!

    I just feel that making resolutions is great motivation to revisit priorities that you’ve been slacking on a little bit. Even if this new discipline is only a month long.

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