Another Year, No Resolutions

The older I get, the more I look at New Year’s Eve and January 1st as hurdles to get over rather than moments to celebrate. And I’m much less likely to make a resolution than I was a couple of decades ago.

Back then, I could get pretty serious about resolutions. I remember in 1990 I “resolved” to stop drinking sweet tea in an effort to lose some weight. I kept that resolution for more than 14 years — drinking only water, believe it or not — but lost no weight in the process.

Turns out I should have made a resolution about cheeseburgers and barbecue, too.

Which brings me to my point.

Sometimes we make resolutions or decisions or judgments about things that really aren’t the issue at all. We’re fighting the wrong battle, targeting the wrong enemy or focusing on the wrong issue.

Sweet tea wasn’t my problem in 1990 — at least it wasn’t my only problem or my biggest problem. My problem was with moderation or lack of exercise. My problem was a much bigger health issue.

Had I seen it then, I wonder if I could have found the answer and fixed my problem. If so, I might have avoided a lot of other issues.

And I’ll bet anything that I’m not alone on that. I’ll bet that a lot of you reading this could benefit from a closer, better, more penetrating review of the issues in your life.

Do you have a sweet tea problem … or a larger health problem?

Do have issues with personnel … or with personnel management?

Are you threatened by an encroaching big box store … or by an inability to differentiate?

I try to think of my problems like some kind of plant — a tree or a weed (depending on the size of the problem). I try to realize and remember that pruning the tree or mowing the weed will not achieve the same thing as cutting the tree down or pulling the weed out by its roots. The former slows things down, but the problem comes back. The latter gives you a real chance of solving the problem.

And that’s really what resolutions are about, right? Solving problems?

Maybe this is just my meandering way of saying that before you resolve to solve a problem, you should take a really good look at it so you know what it is you’re actually hoping to solve.