Resolve To Not Resolve

Didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions last year. Won’t this year either. And this is from a guy that used to make them regularly.

More than this, I encourage you to join me. And I hold out a strange hope that you might find yourself achieving even MORE of your goals/resolutions if you do…er, don’t.

About this time last year, I read this interesting little blog from Derek Sivers. Derek is the founder of CDBaby, and an all-around fascinating guy.

The gist is here:

“Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.
Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.

Interesting, huh?

The psychology is like this:
— You resolve to be a runner.
— You tell everybody.
— You do out and buy running shoes.
— You admire your new shoes, and your brain says “HEY! I’m a runner.”
— You never, or rarely, ever do actual running.

Here’s Sivers’ TED talk:

I can tell you from my own life this most definitely works.

I won’t go into too many details, because then I’d been doing what I said I wouldn’t (making resolutions public…).

But this last year, I made significant progress on several things that have been part of my long-term “life to do” list; the kinds of things that almost always found their way onto a list of previous New Year’s Resolutions, only to remain undone at the end of the next year.

It doesn’t mean you don’t constantly work to achieve your goals. You do. You must.

But in a pretty literal way, Nike was right. Doing means a whole lot more than talking about doing. Holding an intention or thought in your brain, and doing something real/tangible in the world, are two different things.

Sometimes, talking prevents us from doing. It give us the satisfaction that we’ve already done something. Or, if we fail to do something, it gives us the guilt of failure.

How does it work? Not really sure, beyond what Sivers suggests here. But my guess is it’s related to this…

Have goals, for sure. Just keep some part of making them private…interior. Pray them to God. Meditate on them. Think about them all the time. Just don’t talk them to death, and go around announcing them to everyone.

Especially for professional talkers/communicators, there’s always the potential to overshare. (Yes, I’m talking about me. Yes, I know, this applies to Facebook).

We all need interior space. A place to connect with our deepest selves. For us introverts, we need a place to recharge our batteries. There is a powerful resolve that can come from inner intention, not shared, not publicized, not done with external fanfare or hoopla.

Focusing on a daily inner intention appears to be more powerful than making public, or outer, ones. At least it does in my life.

So, no resolutions again this year.
Just action.
Just doing, day by day, in a way that is gentle on myself when I fail.

It works.

Try it.

Just do it.

UPDATE 2013: This year, I’ve written a new blog called “Follow Your Heartbreak,” soon to be a sermon series at Northaven. It’s an alternative way to move toward your life’s passions, without the traditional “resolutions” trap.

(As always, if you like this post, then “share it” or “like” it on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too…)

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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