Enough already with the Lists

2013Yep, it’s that time of the year again.  It’s taken 366 days, some longer others shorter than we would have liked, but it’s finally here. In less than 24 hours we will be entering a new year, one that will bring with it new hope and new beginnings and, dimes to dollars, a whole whack of people making lists of resolutions that they are pretty sure they will keep even though I read on the internet that 47% won’t make it past the 2 month mark.

I suppose that instead of writing this blog that’s what I should be doing right now, figuring out what things I need to resolve over the next 12 months. But to a shallow person New Year’s resolutions are a lot like bucket lists which, as you well know, we have little inclination to create. But like my bucket list experience I had a hunch that a quick trip around the world wide web would provide me with some understanding of what other people are thinking about changing in their lives which is good for me to know because I’m always open to new possibilities.

And I was right. What I discovered on my little WWW whirlwind vaca was that not only are there a multitude of sites where you can publicly profess your commitment to changing your life but there are also many authorities on the subject who are apparently more than willing to share with you their tips and tricks for success because, as previously noted, success in this arena is somewhat elusive. Although I suspect that depends very much on the degree of challenge one sets for oneself. I mean, it’s one thing to pledge to “become proficient in the Japanese language” which I imagine could easily take more than one year, and quite another to find success when your goal is to “get my laundry done” which I am guessing most people will accomplish at some point over the next 365 days.

There are, of course, the “top ten” New Year’s resolutions which, as one may expect, include concrete, measurable goals like “lose weight” and “quit smoking” where a pass/fail is pretty apparent, along with things like “be a better person” and “enjoy life more” where success can be somewhat more open to interpretation. Seems to me that going with the latter gives you a leg up on the odds. As can be expected there are the unreasonable resolves like “fly to the moon” and the even more unattainable “marry Brad Pitt” which as of this writing seems to have eluded even the Mother of his many children. Perhaps my favourite of all was the person whose only list item was “better husband” which I thought was laugh out loud funny before realizing it was likely posted by someone who wanted to be one rather than someone who wanted to get one.

For those people who have “been there, done that” and are seeking new ideas for the coming year there’s a handy resolution generator that you can use to come up with some new, heretofore unthought of ideas. There you will have access to a wide range of suggestions from the ever so practical “bring a reusable bag to the grocery store” to something a little more lofty like “change the world”. If I were you I would employ some caution as you click through the options and give a pass to ideas like “start a pencil collection” which just seems silly and would certainly conflict with the ever popular “declutter”, not to mention “say hi to a stranger” which in many cities could get you into some trouble. If you’re lucky like I was you may even come across something you have already accomplished like “finding all of the people with your name on Facebook”. I’ll be the first to admit though that it wasn’t terribly difficult and probably shouldn’t be factored in to those completion stats.

But here’s the real problem I have with New Year’s resolutions. It seems to me that for the most part people are going to do whatever it is they are going to do, resolution or no resolution. I mean, think about it. That year that you gained 30 pounds did you actually set out to do it? On January 1 did you write down that you were going to “up my sugar intake, eat as many donuts as possible in one sitting, and avoid the gym at all costs?” Or when you picked up that nasty smoking habit was your number one resolution to “start slow but work up to a pack a day by mid-year?”  No, you just did it. List or no list you’re going to do what you’re going to do. So I”m just going to say it. Enough already with the lists!

This year like all others I will refrain from the ritual of making resolutions that I am unlikely to keep and just live in this world the best way that I can. And with any luck I’ll be here next year to do the same thing over again.

Happy New Year to all of my friends and family and thanks again for sticking with me on this thing I call my blog.

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2 thoughts on “Enough already with the Lists

  1. judy gnarpe says:

    Thanks for the insightful and entertaining reading Wendy! Happy 2013 and – keep on writing.

    • wcaplan says:

      I’m not sure “insightful” is what I’m going for but I’ll take any compliment I can get. 😉 Thanks so much for reading and I’ll keep on writing as long as my little old fingers will let me,

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