Hold on just a second. I need to get my soapbox set up just right. *grunt* Just a little shove to the right… *groan* Got it! Okay. Can everyone hear me alright? Yes? Okay, here we go. Oh! And if you’re in a boat, you might want to hold on tight for a little while. Ready? Here we go.


I don’t know about the rest of you, but in the home I grew up in, “I promise” was practically an expletive. Why? Because promises are so very easy to break. In fact, I remember getting a few serious scoldings over careless use of, “I promise.” Likewise, resolutions were not encouraged.

As a teenager, I realized, after a very public and humiliating experience, that many people put more emphasis on the good intentions of making the promises or pledging to the resolutions  than in keeping them. I think they believe that somehow repeating the same promise to themselves or others over and over again will eventually make it come true. After all, most motivational speakers and authors tell you to write your goals and tell them to people, right? So many experts can’t be wrong, can they?

It’s true that, statistically speaking, those who write their goals down and share them with others are more likely to achieve them, but who, I wonder, is in the control group?  Is it the folks who are yet again trying to lose wight after years of obesity, or the ones who never gained too much weight because they decided to be healthy in the first place, without resolutions, promises, or public announcements? I don’t know.

Indian Widow by Joseph Wright, 1785. Courtesy of http://www.wga.hu/ .

This is Indian Widow, by Joseph Wright, 1785. Photo Courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art http://www.wga.hu/ I have no idea what tribe she is supposed to be from. It must be some obscure European tribe. I think she conveys a broken heart well, though, don’t you?

I do know that broken promises hurt, whether you make them to someone else or to yourself.

In my experience, resolutions are just broken promises waiting to happen. After years of trying to do things the experts’ way, I now consider writing down my goals to be more of a fun, introspective exercise than a step toward getting them done. They let me know what my priorities have become and help me adjust my thinking if necessary, but not much else. It’s not in writing or resolving that they come to be. It’s in doing. So now, I make up my mind, and do.

It’s sort of like Nanowrimo, only comprehensive.

Planning is allowed. Moderate hyper-focusing is allowed. (Yes, I know that’s an oxymoron, but the mental picture works for me.)  I give it my best shot and then follow through. If the story just isn’t working, I change my focus. If it still doesn’t work, I admit it’s time to move on to something new and do so.

How about you? Do resolutions help you?