Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year's Resolution

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do or Do Without It

We all know that most people don't keep their New Year's Resolutions more than a few weeks or a couple of months. That's why I long ago established three very specific requirements for any New Year's Resolutions I make:

1. I have to unequivocally want to do it.
2. I have to be fully committed to doing it.
3. I have know that I can and will do it at least for the year ahead.

Otherwise, making resolutions is a waste of time. We know that too. That's why two our of three people don't bother making any.

In years past subjecting my resolutions to these tough requirements has served me well. If I wanted to do something but had doubts that I would then I altered the resolution in a way that I knew I would do it, making it a first step so to speak, toward a more difficult goal. For example, if I know I won't stop eating sweets, but sincerely want to eat fewer, I will resolve to only have one a week.

Using this approach I kept every resolution I set for many years. For the past couple of years, though, there hasn't been anything I wanted to do enough to meet these stringent requirements. So I joined the ranks of those who don't make New Year's Resolutions. I was about to do that again this year until I read a Morning Sentinel article called "Lessons from the Depression" by Larry Grard.

The article's subtitle was a slogan from the Depression of the 1930's that I'd come across in Richard Heinberg's Peak Everything and in Sharon Astyk's book Depletion and Abundance. I wrote about it myself in a blog on how both the environment and the economy are demanding that we develop a Grown-Up World View. I even thought of making up t-shirts and bumpers stickers espousing the return to this slogan -

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without it.

Reading it again yesterday I knew I wanted to make that my 2009New Year's Resolution! To use this slogan as a criteria before I buy anything. To ask myself: is what I have used up or worn out? Can I make do with what I have? Do I actually need this?

I this something I unequivocally want to do it? Yes. Our toss-it-out, buy-a-new one, get-the-latest, have-to have-it way of life is depleting our environment, burdening our personal lives with debt, and diminishing our health and well-being by forcing us to work ever harder and longer so we can buy ever more new things to clean, maintain, store and discard.

Am I fully committed to keeping this resolution? Yes? In fact, I've already begun for some time now. I toss the Victoria's Secret, et al, catalogs I get without browsing through them to be tempted by all the ever-so-appealing items I really do not need. I never shop in malls. When I go to a store I only shop for items on my list and don't browse the aisles. I continually hear myself saying, "I don't really need that." We even forwent Christmas gifts this year in place of making donations to much needed causes we want to support. So, yes, I'm committed.

Do I know for sure that I can and will keep this resolution at least through this next year? Well ... sometimes I still slip on my intention and I fear I might do so again on occasion. For example, I bought a red sweater I saw on sale before the holidays. Did I need that red sweater? No. Could I have lived without it? Yes. But I bought it and I've enjoyed wearing it during the holidays. So .... here's what I resolve:

I intend to use up, wear out, and make do with what I have and do without what I don't need before I buy something new. Should I fail to keep this intention at some point I will take a serious look at what caused me to veer from my commitment to determine how I got sidetracked and what I can do to make sure I don't get sidetracked in that same way again.

Now, do I know I can and will I keep this resolution? Yes.
Anyone want to join me? There's a poll on the right where you can let me know what you think if you'd like.

Happy New Year,


Manifestation said...

Thank you for sharing.My new Year resolution include to report victories over victories,not to depend on any one and not to find faults in others,pray for the absolute happiness ,peace all around.

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Sarah Edwards said...

Hi Sarah,

I do not make resolutions, as a rule, but as I have been living this one for five years with dedication and feel that I can do so in good faith and partnership. Blessings for the New Year and New World.

Peace, Earl (Vince)