Don’t do it, dudes.
Seriously, don’t waste your time reviewing your life, targeting the clichéd elements like your weight, and making resolutions that — more than likely — you won’t actually keep.
Now, it’s not like we’re suggesting that you should just continue blindly on along the path for your life you set for yourself when you were 14. We agree that the unexamined life isn’t worth living.
You definitely should look at your life periodically, see if you are the sort of man you want to be. If you’re not there yet, then, by all means, make changes to get yourself there. There is always a difference between who we want to be and who we actually are. It’s the mark of a good dude, a good man or woman, that you actually chart a path to your goal and actually work to get there.
Wishing to be seen as a better person is no good unless you actually do your best to become that better person.
So, yes, definitely, take the occasional moral and behavioral inventory. Find those things that aren’t working and flush ’em. Find the parts that are working and build on their strengths.
Just don’t do it today, on New Year’s Day.
Resolutions have a nasty habit of being time-locked and reactionary. That is, what went wrong in the last little while before New Year’s Day? Then we tend to make resolutions that slightly address those issues and not the underlying causes that give rise to the events that are causing us to make resolutions.
For most people, looking back over the course of a year and remembering the things we did wrong or the things we did right, and why we did each of them, is an exercise in futility. Human memory is more fallible than we like to admit. We tend to remember the things with the most emotional weight attached to them, rather than those that are emotionally neutral. And even those things become embroidered over time.
We don’t remember what actually happened, but, rather, what we think happened. And there can be a vast gulf of difference between the two. Which means you might be making resolutions that are more worthless than normal.
Today is — most likely — a day off work. It’s a day for football and fun. Rather than spending too long in contemplation of sins past and entering the new year in a bad mood, or rushing through and slapping a few resolutions for change together, knowing full well you’re not going to keep them, just relax a bit today.
Instead, set aside a little time every three or four months to look back over your behavior during that time and make changes to your life that way. I’ve even got this stuck in my calendar. It pops up every three months, an alert reminding myself to look in a mirror for a while.
Resolve to be a better man or a better woman, but work for those changes over a shorter period of time. That way, you can keep up your enthusiasm for change and still be excited when you reach your goal, ready to start another.
Resolved: No resolutions today. Other than that one, of course.