Irresolutions

I know, it’s a made-up word. Don’t worry, it was intentional.

This is the time of year when many people decide to face the coming twelve months with firm resolutions. They can be the usual things, losing weight, quitting smoking, or doing more exercise. They might also be more serious; falling in love, getting married, finding a new job, leaving an old job, or going off to university in September.

Statistics would have us believe that this is the peak time for the signing of new gym memberships. Clubs and hobby associations also enjoy a lot of seasonal activity, as well as dance classes, yoga schools, and Pilates groups. Weight Watchers and other similar organisations can anticipate a flurry of new members every year at this time too. Suppliers of cycles, exercise machines, new gym clothes, lifting weights, and running shoes can all expect to see an increase in sales.

“Do you make resolutions, Pete?” (I hear you ask) The answer is a firm no. I have discovered that nothing will make me want to do something more, than having pledged to myself not to do it. And nothing will make me want to do something less, than having agreed to do it on a strict regular basis. In the past, good resolutions have lasted for periods from as short as a few hours, to less than a month. Once the failure is apparent, it is followed by a sense of guilt and frustration that makes everything worse than it was before I gave up whatever it was, or decided to do whatever I didn’t do.

Let’s face it, January is a bad time to stop doing anything. Bad weather and dark evenings make outdoor activities unappealing, at best. Trying to cut down on food when it is cold and bleak outside is just not going to happen. The same applies to hardened smokers, hoping to give up. The party season has filled them full of nicotine, then they have to go back to work after a long break, coping once more with commuting. Traffic affected by weather, trains cancelled, and the prospect of another year at a job they would probably sooner not be doing. The worst possible time to try to stop, surely?

Deciding to do something, whatever it is, telling everyone that you are going to do it, hyping yourself up to get on with doing it, and then not doing it at all. This is not good for your well-being, self-esteem, or peace of mind. Yet year after year, as long as I can remember, so many people do just that, every January. Maybe we should change the socially-accepted date for this to sometime around the end of July. It is usually nicer to be outside, the brighter weather makes everyone feel happier and more positive, and summer salad foods are in abundance. January was never going to work, was it?

Instead of resolutions, I have ‘might dos.’

I might clear out the garage in 2016. I might finally get around to planting some nice flowers and colourful shrubs in the garden. I might wash the car more than once a year, and I might just clean the windows more often than I do. I might get to see more of Norfolk, taking Ollie further afield on a regular basis. I might decide to stop volunteering at the windmill, if visitor numbers stay in single figures. I might decide not to post so much on this blog. I might take a lot more photographs this year, (weather permitting) and even learn how to use Photoshop Elements. I might write more fictional stories. If and when we have a decent summer, I might walk for much longer with Ollie, extend to four hours instead of 2-3. That would help me lose more weight.

That seems like a lot of might dos, I know.

Of course, there is always the chance that I might not do any of them.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL. MY VERY BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY 2016. PETE.

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25 thoughts on “Irresolutions

  1. Totally agree with you Pete. Gone are those days when I used to list lots of things that I want to do throughout the year. I just take things as they come now and enjoy those unexpected but precious moments.

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  2. I’ve never given much thought to making New Year’s resolutions. I suppose the most common New Year’s resolutions have to do with dieting, exercise, and smoking. I’ve never been the least bit overweight. I’ve always been quite active. And I’ve never puffed a cigarette. So perhaps that’s why I never got into the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, and ultimately why I decided the whole notion was just a wee bit silly. I do look ahead, though, counting on a few things to happen (e.g., I’m counting on publishing a new set of song lyrics), and hoping that certain other things will come to pass (e.g., I hope that I’ll find time to finish a novel I began writing last year).

    Pete, I think your irresolution idea is a good one, and hope that at least one of your “might dos” becomes a “did that” by the end of 2016.

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    1. David, I think that if you have never been overweight, nor smoked, and always taken exercise, then you are right to conclude that you have no need for resolutions. I look forward to seeing your completed work over the coming year, and I am sure you will achieve your desires, without having to resolve to do so.
      Regards as always, Pete.

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  3. I’m imagining Ollie’s delight if his exhausted, aching human really can be taken on 4 hour muddy walks. I’m suddenly reminded of (my beloved, your despised) Prince Rupert, walking his dog through the countryside during his retirement……..

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  4. I like ‘might dos’ they don;t make you feel guilty if you change your mind. I quit smoking in August on the way to a holiday in Canada (10 years ago). Had my last cigarette before I got to the airport and then stopped. Maybe the fact I had lots of new things to discover stopped me craving them whilst away.

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    1. We gave up ‘real’ cigarettes in 2012, but still use the electronic alternatives. At least they are 98% healthier! (According to the WHO) x (And you stopped in August. That enhances my summer suggestion.)

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  5. Love it! I usually start each term with a list of ‘might dos’ – some of which will get done and some of which won’t. January 1st means nothing to me. But once the house empties after a school holiday (my husband is a teacher), then I can make the most of the peace and quiet…

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  6. Love your “might” list, Pete. I enjoy your blog, so I hope you don’t stop posting. I, have decreased the amount of blogging I do–I am for once a week or maybe 2. I enjoy doing so many things, I can’t devote all my time to one thing, like movies, for instance, but I’m frequently thinking about them and they influence my perceptions and my understanding of the past, the present, the future. Here’s hoping you get around to washing your possessions and planting your flowers! Cheers, Cindy

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    1. Thanks, Cindy. Might dos are much healthier than resolutions. They leave the option of failure untarnished!
      Looking forward to a lot more of your film stuff and photos in the year ahead.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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