I don’t write resolutions because they are a deal you make with yourself to be unhappy until the resolution is accomplished. I am putting attachment at the driver seat of my life, setting myself the trap of becoming unhappy if I fail in the resolution (and in all likelihood, I will).
All resolutions come from the ego, something that came from a deeper place would not require conducting a war against yourself. The mind thinks that what you have is not enough. Yet we know very well that the satisfaction of accomplishment doesn’t match the disappointment in oneself.
The deal the ego offers, in words of Naval Ravikant, is to make yourself unhappy until you get what you want.
And yet there is utility in doing it. We indeed become better by setting ourselves goals, by organizing our actions with the intent of becoming better people. It would seem it is a positive direction, it is a path which reaps healthy fruit.
And it is so. But the misery felt in the process can be entirely eliminated by a change in perspective: instead of putting willpower at the foremost of one’s action in the world, take a step back and think: given my current trajectory, where will I be when 2020 ends?
And in this way we transform the resolution into a prediction. The purpose is not motivation, it is self-knowledge. If I write what I will think will happen to me in 2020 and then review it at the end of the year, I can account on the accuracy of my predictions.
The exercise could end here in a simple “what I predict about myself for the next year”, but if if you wish to introspect deeper another change of perspective needs to take place. Imagine, for a moment, that you are reading this a year from now.
Look around the room, if you are willing to entertain me. What would be different? A spontaneous prompt appeared: a mouse just ran across the room in which I am writing this. I know this will not happen (or is likely to happen) next year. After taking notice about what is different around you, sense what would be different inside you. Hopefully some changes have taken place this year, and they will reflect on your inner state.
The purpose of placing yourself in the present moment, but in the future is to reduce the activity of the mind that plans and plots. I will do this, I will change that. I will buy this. I will travel here becomes I have done this, I changed that. I bought this. I travelled here. It is useful to imagine oneself as an arrow shot into the air. The arrow was shot by yourself at the present, and you are aiming to describe the target where it landed.
In order to put these ideas into practice, I have written Sensing the future.