by DavalosMcCormack on January 4, 2011

Resolving not to make resolutions!

Normally I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve done it in the past and haven’t been very good at keeping them – such as trying to learn Spanish or any foreign language, or even just trying to speak English more better – or I’ve made such easy ones that they really weren’t of any real significance.

I already go to the gym regularly and try to keep my weight under control so bang go those old standbys. I try to eat a healthy, balanced diet so that’s done. But this year I decided I was going to make a resolution, one that doesn’t limit me to any one issue or topic, but instead is expansive and can fit any and everything I do.

This year I’m going to try to be better.

Better at what? Everything. A better husband, friend, uncle, cousin, work colleague. A better writer. Better at staying in touch. Better at being more thoughtful. Better squash player (not hard really), better musician (really easy as I don’t play anything right now), just a better person.

There’s lots of room for improvement. Just ask anyone who knows me!

Deep thinker

My friend Dr. Bill Stewart in his fine book, ‘Deep Medicine’, says that every decision we make is about health. If we choose to eat a bag of Dorritos super cheesy chips rather than an apple we’re making a bad decision; if we choose to go for a walk rather than spending the day on the couch in front of the TV that’s a good decision. In the same way everything we do, every decision we make is about health, so everything we do or think or say has the potential to make us better people if we want it to.

That doesn’t mean I will always make the right decision or do the best thing or decide to act in a way that elevates my character. There may be days when I just think, “sod it, I can’t be bothered.” And that might be the right decision for me at the time. After all, I’m a firm believer in moderation in all things. Including moderation.

But I hope that overall I will stop before acting, and consider what I’m doing, consider how I’m thinking about something or someone and decide on an action or course of action that will make me a better person in the long run.

I know it’s kind of vague. OK, it’s really vague. But that’s the strength of it not its weakness. With specific resolutions where there is a definite goal – say wanting to lose weight (the number one resolution among Americans) or give up smoking (number two in the US) – you focus on one aspect of your life and direct all your energies towards that. It’s great if you lose the weight or kick the habit but if you don’t what happens? You end up feeling like crap and telling yourself you are rubbish and can’t stick to diets or exercise plans or you lack willpower  etc. With mine, I don’t end up in December saying “hey, I was 23% better/worse this year than last” but I do end up with a sense that throughout the year I have, hopefully, tried to do a better job or be better at everything I’ve attempted. If I have failed in some aspects the chances are I will have succeeded in others. And because the goal of being better is an open ended one, I can always carry on in 2012 and beyond.

First steps

Not a fashion statement

The first step, as always, is to be aware. to make a conscious decision to try and think things through before doing anything. Or at least to consider the options.

For example, in the past I’ve been rather judgmental about people who wear baggy cotton sweat pants and flip flops. It always says to me that this is a person who is just too lazy to make even the simplest effort to make themselves look, not even presentable, just halfway decent. In essence it says “I’m a slob and I don’t care.”

In future when I see someone dressed like that I will try not to pass judgment on them. I’ll try to see them as a whole and not just a pair of baggy sack-like trousers. They’ll still be slobs, but I will leave it to others to make that judgment because I’m better than that.

See, it’s working already.

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