Cut back to 30th or 31st Dec of any year of our lives. We sit down and make a list of the resolutions that we will follow from Jan 1st (waiting for a perfect day is in itself a huge recipe for disaster!!). It could be
- I will quit smoking,
- I will keep my room tidy (not tidier!!),
- I will get up early in the morning,
- I will eat a little less fried food this year.”
- I will drive a little more slowly this year.”
- I will help others a little more this year.”
- I will interfere in my children’s lives a little less this year.”
- I will talk a little less and listen a little more.”
- I will smile a little more this year.”
- I will be a little better person than I was last year.”
And by Jan 3rd (if it lasted until then), none of this is even in memory leave alone in existence and then it is business as usual.
If you are wondering about why I am writing a post on NY Resolutions in May, let me reassure you that it is not about NY Resolutions per se but its about our lack of willingness to take our own words seriously and put them in action.
It has been my experience in a similar vein when I called customers of Enrich, the Software Product that we make and sell, a week after their purchase to know the extent of their usage and whether I can support them in any way. The responses I get are typically “I have installed it and will start using it from this Sunday or 1st of next month or tomorrow”. Rarely, have I heard my customers tell me “Yes, I have started using it regularly and this is what I like or this is something I don’t like about the software”. They have spent Rs.995 for the software and they do not have the willingness to even try it!!
Now why does this happen? I have a few responses based on my own experience.
1. We have taken upon too ambitious tasks and too soon.
2. Worse, we are not really committed to having those results. “It will be good to be slim but I’m not willing to work towards it. If it happens great otherwise I’m ok” is the prevailing attitude.
3. We take upon too many things at one go. As such, our willingness to back even one resolution is suspect and here we are, putting a laundry list!! With more and more items in the to-do list, the chances that anyone making it is remote.
4. We are waiting for a perfect day or a fine tomorrow. We are so afraid of doing it and hence put it off for tomorrow or 1st Jan or 1st of the next month. I have personally experienced accomplishment when I slotted a day and time and did it at the scheduled hour. Some day is the killer of an intended future!!
5. We want to do it perfectly. And that’s a mirage that forces us give up on making our dreams become real and keep them as dreams forever. We will either do a perfect job or not do it at all!!
6. A corollary to 5. If we miss it by a day, we give it up forever instead of taking it from where we left and go ahead. I wanted to write a list of 10 reasons to be happy every day and did it for a few days. yesterday, I did not do it and now it looks like a distant past.
7. We relate to ourselves as weak and look at our failures to reinforce that belief and give up on life itself. We use this lack of consistency of action as a great reason not to give ourselves another chance to get us out of this rut!!
8. It gives a great sense of achievement just to write down a few things to do. Anything more is too much to ask for!!
9. We are happy about status quo and are not ready to upset the apple cart by trying for something better.
Well, what has been your experience?