Researchers have found that crossing a physical threshold or going through a doorway can create an event boundary, a mental scene break – the reason we often go to another room to do or get something but forget what it is when we get there. I also believe there are psychological thresholds we cross that cause scene breaks, e.g. leaving the old year and entering the new. Perhaps this is what so often dooms our New Year Resolutions to failure – we may very well leave our intentions and motivations in the previous year.
I’ve decided to adopt a new system. I will no longer make New Year Resolutions; I’ll only make Old Year Resolutions. On approximately the first of September each year, I’ll compile a list of resolves that fit the categories Catch Up, Pay Up, and Rev Up. Consequently, when I cross into the new year and a scene break occurs, I’ll move forward with a relatively clean slate.
Catch Up will include all those projects, e.g. household, craft, social, that are stacked around the house and cluttered in my mind. If I haven’t completed them by midnight, December 31, I’ll allow the crossing of the threshold to delete them. How important could they have been if not completed in twelve months? Of course, this process includes Keep Up which should make Catch Up much easier.
In many cultures, there is the belief that one should never enter a new year in debt – the premise for my second category, Pay Up. For most of us, this can only apply to those debts which aren’t large and ongoing such as a mortgage. It can, however, apply to those one-shot medical bills, credit card balances, etc.
As a writer, Rev Up is the most important to me. I want to build excitement regarding my writing projects for the coming year. In my case, it’s deciding which of my many “begun” manuscripts I intend to complete and submit for publication. Also of importance is my resolve to make a final decision whether or not to build the Tiny House for a Writer I’ve been designing and reporting on in my previous Musings.
The idea of Old Year Resolutions came to me late last November, but I did my best to institute the new practice and am happy to say I met the deadline for Pay Up and Rev Up. Because of the short time period, I’m allowing myself the freedom to complete Catch Up during the first quarter of this new year.
The major purpose of my three categories is to enter the new year with intent and intention, with purpose and resolve so I can cross the threshold from the old year to the new without undue baggage or regrets of things unaccomplished.
However you enter this hopeful, shiny, full-of-potential new year, I wish you the best – creativity, adventure, serenity, and connection.