Why I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions

For me that is. So, Happy 2011 first of all.

1.New Year's is a holiday amidst holidays. It's not always the best time to sit and reflect and figure out what I want to commit to. I'm pretty busy managing holiday celebrations/commitments/lots of time with family/kids in the house.

2. In inattentive ADHD land, picking a resolution because it's time to do so can be super arbitrary. Read: think about it for the sake of it being "time" to do so. If you don't manage to really connect on a deep level to what's important to you in this process, but just think a bunch about a bunch of stuff, the resolutions end up being arbitrary as well.

3. "Goals" can end up seeming arbitrary in inattentive land no matter when you set them. They are things you might forget about, or reason your way out of without realizing it, or just not feel connected to.

To flip it around, setting a goal (or resolution or commitment) is, to me, a possible strategy or tool in moving ahead. It might work. It might work for a time. It is not the end-all be-all. If it works, great. If you remember it and use it, great. This involves:

1. Defining some very concrete small steps to get you to the endpoint you're looking at

2. Having a goal that actually provides some motivation, some pull, rather than trying to force yourself there

3. Remembering the goal. For people who forget the world outside their heads and sit in thinkythink land for stretches of time, AND have working memory challenges, this is no nicety.

4. Remembering the context of the goal. I might set a goal to be able to run 5K because a 5K race is a motivator to run which is a way to make sure I get in shape to go backpacking while backpacking is the fun outcome that helps me stay motivated to workout- and I need to know all of that OR

5. Believe yourself at any given moment that you set a goal for a good reason, that you don't need to make any other decision right now, and that you can suspend judgment while carrying out some step in your plan.

And back to New Year's Resolutions:

They sound like a good idea. If you impulsively come to a resolution at a not particularly good time, rather than naturally, it may not work.

And it may be a setup. If you think a New Year's resolution feels like a setup to fail AGAIN, or here mid-January you feel like you ARE "failing again," you have my permission to DROP THE WHOLE THING NOW. It doesn't mean you don't want to or will not  run 5K/eat right/call your grandmother every Tuesday/write a novel. It means that setting a goal in the darkest time of the year while juggling ornaments and family stress (or pressure to make it a great time) wasn't entirely what you needed to make it happen.