New year, new you? Forget it

Behind the seductive lure of “New Year, New You” lies another kind of mistake, too: the idea that what we require, in order finally to change, is one last push of willpower. (Presumably, the hope is that the “January feeling” of fresh starts and clean slates will provide it.) The assumption is that you’re a bit like a heavy rock, poised on a hill above the Valley of Achievement, Productivity and Clean Eating. All you need is a concerted push to get you rolling.

Filed under: my really good resolutions tag.

New year, new you? Forget it

The Millions : My New Year’s Resolution: Read Fewer Books

In an odd way, the fact that no one else knows has made me more competitive, not less. I’m sure serious runners are familiar with this seeming paradox. Maybe nobody else knows that you shaved 1.2 seconds off your personal best time for the mile, but you know — and that knowledge, plus the fact that your achievement has brought you no external reward, gives you a perverse sense of satisfaction. Or no, let’s be honest about this: it gives you a perverse sense of superiority.

The Millions : My New Year’s Resolution: Read Fewer Books

Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Rulin’s, 1942. (via). See also Johnny Cash’s to-do list and David Foster Wallace on the philosophical depth of country music.

  1. Work more and better
  2. Work by a schedule
  3. Wash teeth if any
  4. Shave
  5. Take bath
  6. Eat good – fruit – vegetables – milk
  7. Drink very scant if any
  8. Write a song a day
  9. Wear clean clothes – look good
  10. Shine shoes
  11. Change socks
  12. Change bed clothes often
  13. Read lots good books
  14. Listen to radio a lot
  15. Learn people better
  16. Keep rancho clean
  17. Don’t get lonesome
  18. Stay glad
  19. Keep hoping machine running
  20. Dream good
  21. Bank all extra money
  22. Save dough
  23. Have company but don’t waste time
  24. Send Mary and kids money
  25. Play and sing good
  26. Dance better
  27. Help win war – beat fascism
  28. Love Mama
  29. Love Papa
  30. Love Pete
  31. Love everybody
  32. Make up your mind
  33. Wake up and fight

Maybe one of the single best things a person can do for themselves is to shift from their default self-worth goals (seeking to prove self-worth and to avoid proof of worthlessness) to learning goals.