I absolutely believe in resolutions, even though every year I’m told (in annual articles as predictable as the resolutions themselves) that they don’t work.
Mind you, I’m not really a fan of the wholesale New Year’s Resolution. My resolutions are lower-case, and can start any time. Resolutions are a way of trying things out. Sometimes they are the start of a daily habit, or they result in accomplishments I didn”t think I could achieve. Other times, resolutions don’t succeed at all, and I learn something new about myself.
I have some rules for effective resolutions. First, they have to be really, really simple. Then, make them even simpler, until they are evaporated down into crystals. After that, do them almost every day. It’s okay to skip occasionally. And don’t do them all day. Five minutes counts. Perfectionism just results in not doing anything at all.
Then there are the general resolutions. Those aren’t tasks. They’re things to remember, ideas, guidelines. Here’s a little list of my current ones.
- I have enough.
- One at a time.
- Plan. Pack. Put away.
They are short enough to use as reminders, and short enough to remember.
“I have enough” applies to buying things, but it also goes for trash-picking, and seconds at dinner if you’re full. It applies to over-packing bags for trips, too. It prevents operating from a position of deprivation or craving. “I have enough” is a useful reminder.
“One at a time” used to include the words “one book, one project, one task.” But that’s too specific. It’s just a reminder that no one can do two things at once. Say “one at a time” and put the other thing away. It means “pay attention” but it also means “do what you’re doing.”
“Plan. Pack. Put away.” This is the power resolution, especially the last one.
- Plan: Have a good idea of tasks that need doing. Keep one list and revise it regularly.
- Pack: Get out the tools and materials that go with the current task.
- Put away: When done with something, even if just for now, it gets put away. No matter what. Never assume you will get to it later. Never leave things out as a “reminder.” Put them on a list and then put them away.
Your mileage may vary. These are just the New Year’s resolutions that stuck. I don’t remember the ones that didn’t.