Another new year and another opportunity to make promises that hopefully won’t prove too easy to break. In my resolutions post from last year I advertised the idea that small changes in environment related to the change in behavior you are seeking could be the most effective method for successful promise-keeping. The example I used was for Vietnam Vets addicted to heroin, a bit extreme perhaps, but effective in proving the point.
We were discussing resolutions for this year with the kids and our son’s commitment to not taking the last of anything came up, not only as a successful example, but as one that he might want to renew this year. It’s excellent when anyone manages to keep a resolution going but this would be year 3 of this particular item and we encouraged him to branch out. He was unaware that resolutions can actually apply to anything – he thought they were strictly for how you can be nice to other people (another value we encourage at every opportunity).
The big winner this year seems to be taking notes/making sketches/blueprints to capture creative ideas. We’ve encouraged him to take notes in the past as a way to help curb his impulsive enthusiasm for certain ideas and thereby make transitions easier. He can put a thought in his notebook instead of having to explore it through to its conclusion when he should be making a transition to another activity. This has had some limited success but like many resolutions it loses steam and ultimately falls by the wayside. Another blocking factor are the notebooks and pens he needs to carry. For some reason he refuses to use the back pockets on his pants as well as the nearly ubiquitous cargo pockets on the pants of same. No matter the carrying capacity of his trousers he always insists on stuffing the notebook and pen in his front pocket, which is always uncomfortable and unwieldy. The notebook gets trashed, the pen gets lost, and the commitment evaporates.
Now that he’s in middle school, however, and has to carry all of his books around I’m wondering if we can’t find a way to integrate a notebook section in his school folder so that he can always have it with him during school but doesn’t have to try to stuff anything into his pants. The resolutions are still a work in progress but I’m hoping I can find a way to help make this one stick. The commitment is there, we just need help with the execution.
Our daughter is another story. She may be ok with the idea of a resolution but she is being much more picky and fickle. A pair of kittens joined our family over the holiday and she is determined that at least one of them will bond with her and be her pet. I had always told her that if she had just fed and walked the dog, she would have been happy to consider our daughter a go-to family member. But she doesn’t, so she’s not. We’re getting a little more traction with the cats so far although scooping poops from the kitty litter and the smelly food may put a stake in the idea.
That’s the nice thing about resolutions. If they manage to slip away from you another year always comes around to give you a new shot at it. Hey, I abandoned a few resolutions counting on the Mayan apocalypse to let me off the hook. That didn’t work out and now I get to start them all over again in 2013.
Have some resolutions? It’s good to share them with people to help keep you honest. Add them to the comments below for all the world to see.