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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Resolutions - Horton's Way


     When I think of making New Year’s resolutions, I can’t help but think of Horton the elephant, from the children’s book “Horton Hatches the Egg.” 
      For those of you who’ve never read the book, Horton is tricked into sitting on a bird nest by the lazy mother (who ditches Horton and her egg and flies to Palm Beach.)  Horton sticks it out, despite many obstacles, often chanting “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant” (an elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent.) And when the egg hatches, the creature emerges as an “elephant-bird” and goes to live happily with Horton in the jungle—Horton’s reward for sticking to his word—while the lazy bird ends up with nothing. 
      Which is what happens with our resolutions.  If we put nothing into them, we'll end up like the bird with nothing to show from our lack of effort.  Statistics show that only 40% of Americans even bother with a New Year’s resolution.  And of those, only 8% succeed.  For Pete's sake, people, an elephant has more determination than we do!
      So are we better off saying “eh” to the whole idea of making resolutions?  Psychologists warn that making—then breaking—a resolution will damage your sense of self-worth.  And who in the world wants to have that happen?  I’m already well aware I have no self-control when it comes to snacking.  Why make myself feel worse?
      Years ago I made a resolution to not eat chocolate before 10 a.m. So guess who was shoveling chocolate in with a pitchfork at 10:01?  Likely eating more than if I’d allowed myself that first morsel at, say, 8:00 a.m.
      Researchers tell us it's better to bite off a little less when it comes to making our resolutions.  Why write a laundry list of ten things knowing full well it'll take a small miracle for you to achieve even one?  We also need to be very specific in those goals (which, in my defense, I was—10:00 a.m. and not a second before.)  But apparently it would’ve made more sense if I worded my resolution as "I'll keep my daily chocolate intake to under four candy bars."
      What I find most shocking in these studies is they state the success rate higher for people under age fifty, than those of us over fifty.  I was sure the older we got, the more resolute we were—especially when one of the other top resolutions is to spend less money—something I thought we’d have figured out by the time we hit fifty.
       As a "good Catholic" high school girl, my list every year usually involved giving up swearing and eating junk food.  Right.  A teenager who doesn’t eat junk food (or ever swear.)
      After losing weight, self-improvement is next on resolution lists.  We all know what we should do… volunteer more, drink less, spend more time with our family, complain less, make someone happy every day… in my case I need to work on my patience.  Or lack thereof.  Really, it’s true.  Just ask my husband.  It needs a little tweeking... or hatching.
    So if in the near future, you can't find me, I'm likely sitting on my nest, developing my patience-egg.  Because I meant what I said and I said what I meant… my patience needs working on one-hundred percent!

       Happy 2014 to all of you! 
And if you make a resolution – keep Horton in mind!


4 comments:

  1. Patience is a good word for 2014, and always. It's a very hard on to subscribe to, however. So, don't be hard on yourself when you lose it for a while. You'll get it back. Sometimes, it's forced on you, like when you're waiting for your book to sell!! Sometimes, it's in the nature of things. Add another P-word to that, persevere, and you will certainly prosper.

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Mary. I'm pretty good about persevering, but you're right, it definitely is needed along with patience in the publishing process!

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  3. I could certainly use more patience as well—it runs in short supply around here. Good luck!

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    1. Hi Kerry Ann, I think we've learned extra patience is required to be a writer/author - hopefully we both have enough for this coming year! ;)

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