How to keep your resolutions, from someone who didn’t make any.

image-4With the full awareness of my total inability to effect long-term serious change bases on a list of Christmas feast induced guilt, I didn’t make any resolutions for 2014. With the truly lame and superficial nature of last year’s resolutions, I was actually able to fulfill some and I am letting that euphoria last for 2014 as well. I painted my nails on a semi-regular basis, went to at least a couple classes at the gym, and we are 4 seasons in to 30 Rock and going strong. Turns out that when you make resolutions to indulge in something, rather than be deprived of something, it is way easier to do them.

But then I pulled out a pair of socks with holes and I was reminded of how hard it is to actually do the simple things like throw out the socks with holes.  Why is it so hard? Why does it seem so much easier to just shove them deeper into the drawer and thrust it shut, shoving and pushing when it jams against wads of holey socks and snagged tights.

Because it is always easier to not do something than to do it.

Therein lies the great secret behind all failed resolutions: doing things is much harder than writing them down.

I got back from our Christmas travels this weekend and the full weight of a month of business, parties, fun, shopping, and indulgence hit hard. Despite my lack of resolutions, I still needed to do something to jumpstart better living, a resolution that should come every day, rather than just the early hours of January.

And so, I cleaned out the pantry. Then the fridge. Then the closet, heartlessly casting anything that remained from the last purge into the donation box. I tacked the storage bins on the porch, the terrifying space under our bed, and every last corner of my desk. This means that for this week at least, I know where everything in our house is. Do you have any idea how good that feels? You could ask where the glitter encrusted clutch, the street map of Paris, the bag of penny rolls, or the 3 bags of powdered sugar are and I would know. I would also then know that I don’t need to buy another bag of powdered sugar.

Which brings me to my sage advice on keeping resolutions, from someone who doesn’t really make them: start by throwing out the socks with holes. If you can’t throw them out, you probably will never make it through the 10 day juice fast, the 5am gym work-outs five days a week, or the moral resolve to never get mad at anyone, even the people who don’t use turn signals until the very last minute.

If you don’t have any holey socks, then please come teach me your ways so that I don’t have to spend two days every year purging all my belongings. In the meantime, instead of any lofty intentions, I am going to strive for 2014 being the year where I just do the things before me that need doing, when they need doing.

What are some of the things you are resolving to do this year?photo-19

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29 Responses to How to keep your resolutions, from someone who didn’t make any.

  1. Johanna says:

    The resolution I’m actually going to try to keep is to get outside more. Being incredibly lazy, that is a challenge during gray short winter days before spring. So my resolution is to get my two feet outside the doorstep at least once each day. Some days I’ll take long walks and enjoy it, orher days I’ll probably only go get the mail. But it will be good for me. Then perhaps next year I’ll have the discipline to throw away socks…

  2. Laurie says:

    Loved the thoughts your thoughts and how you just dove in and got some things out of the way. Gave me inspiration and ideas after struggling with a house purge going on 4 years now. My resolve this year is to “just get it done and over with” so thanks for the encouragement!!

  3. ccpruett says:

    “Because it is always easier to not do something than to do it.”
    It is honestly embarrassing to me how poignant this simple statement was. Because DUH, right? And yet, I found myself exhaling in agreement, like- “oh yeah, that!” It reminds me of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. SO good! And a total kick in the pants! :) Thanks for this!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I just went through my sock drawer a couple weeks ago! I was so embarrassed!

  5. iwritewrite says:

    I love this! Boy, keeping resolutions is tough. Check out my post? bespectacledgirl.wordpress.com

  6. Katie says:

    I really love your advice here. Yesterday, I threw a pair of socks my dog got ahold of back in the drawer, even though I can’t stand socks with holes. I’m going to go throw them away and then try (again) to teach my dog to “drop it!” :)

  7. hfourie says:

    Thanks for the fun post. Instead of making resolutions, my husband and I decide on a different ‘theme’ for each year. For example, 2013 was the Year of Adventure: we traveled a lot and changed jobs. 2014 is the Year of Investment: investment in ourselves (body, mind, retirement), investment in others (give more and better), investment in friendships. You get the idea. So rather than ticking items of a list, we try to keep our ’2014 philosophy’ in the back of our mind in all our decisions. Much more fun that ticking items off a list!

  8. mary says:

    you’re blog. i can honestly say it is my favorite. this is exactly how i’ve been feeling about new year’s resolutions. i have one very precise one so far, however, and it’s making my whole life so positively splendid that i don’t think i could give it up if i tried: sleep 9 hours every night. that sometimes impossible, full night of sleep, has suddenly given me the ability “to do the things that need doing, when they need doing.” and i feel positively high on life because of it. i think we all should get up and do things, just like you said, before sitting to write out a list of resolutions. we need to get better of taking care of the things in front of us. thanks for writing. thanks for writing.

  9. RA says:

    Yes, the socks! You have to start somewhere, girl.

    Last year, I framed my resolutions as actions, and it served me well, so I’m doing it again! This year, I want to:

    Reach out
    Make space
    Cultivate and create

    Of course, I will have goals underneath each to appease my analytical, data-driven, metric-minded nerd self, but those are the big ideas. :)

    • Hannah says:

      When I first read this, I read framed as framed, as in a photo, and I was like, what a GOOD IDEA! I totally want to print pretty resolutions now as wall art.

      • RA says:

        Oh, but I DID frame them! On my dresser, so that I was confronted with them every morning. And then I went to work and they challenged me from my desktop wallpaper. Constant reminders were key for me, and I’m doing the same thing this year.

  10. I never fold my socks, just pick two similar ones from the basket, so I’d never be able to find them to sort them. :)
    Instead of writing resolutions, I made a one year plan of what I’d like to accomplish in various areas of my life. It is written down and posted on my bulletin board. I’ve never done this before, so we’ll see how it goes.

  11. Kate says:

    “Because it is always easier to not do something than to do it.” YES. so true, and simple. i will be throwing out some socks when i get home.. thanks for this!

  12. Haylie says:

    I love the idea of thinking as resolutions as opportunities to indulge in something versus attempts to deprive. Deprivation just feels like punishment! But I could get excited about indulging in something! (Probably because I’m really good at that anyway…) Even if it was indulging in healthy food- that sounds way better to my brain than “cutting carbs” or some heinous phrase like that. ;) This year, my resolutions are more internal than external. I want my husband and I to live in abundance, in the joy of the Lord, to extend grace and love to others better (when you made the comment about turn signals, I was like, “YES”). These sound kind of vague, but I actually have ways of implementing them. I really want to make beautiful doodles or paintings with verses and quotes about things like joy and abundance and put them all over our apartment, because words are so powerful… and I’m super visual, so if it’s pretty I’ll probably think about it a lot more. :D Plus being in God’s word every day. Or at least consistently throughout the week. My other resolution is to have a baby, which is kind of giving myself an easy win, since I’m almost 7 months pregnant… But hey, I’m still considering it a win! :D

    • Hannah says:

      Indulgence > deprivation every time. Even if you are like “I am going to indulge in this kale!” — which is a total misuse of the concept of indulgence — it is better than saying “I am going to deprive myself of these delicious carbs.” : )

      So exciting that you get to welcome a new little soul into the world so soon!

  13. Pieliekamais says:

    I have two bags of powdered sugar. This is a super post.

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