Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year’s Resolutions … I don’t believe in them. Well, not exactly.

What do you know, it’s January 2, 2014 already. I hope everyone had a good holiday season and survived all the parties, family dinners, and gatherings of friends – obligatory attendances and voluntary ones alike.

What does all of this mean? Well, it means another year has turned into history, never to be captured again. And each of us a year older than this time in 2013, which is now irretrievably gone and lost, lived and experienced.

There’s a difference in those sets of terms, isn’t there? Gone and lost imply something forfeit. Lived and experienced convey a sense of gain. And each of us will determine by the way he or she lives from this day forward which will represent that individual’s mindset … or philosophy, if you will.

My friend, J, whom I’ve mentioned in this blog (generally respectfully) from time to time, is a student of the human brain. She likes to glean facts and theories on how it works as we go about our daily lives. For example, she thinks in terms of System One and System Two.

The first, which dictates probably 80 percent of our actions and activities, is the subconscious. The second represents our cognizant selves, and is the way we make decisions not dictated by habit. In short, the thinking part of us, which she believes from her studies is finite, limited, and sometimes overwhelmed by the subconscious if we don’t take steps to prevent it. By this, I believe she means we don’t allow things about which we can do little or nothing to become obsessions, to take up too much “space” in our day.

I subscribe to this, I think, because of my daily routine. When I sit down at this computer to write, I’m using System Two. But I often find that after a while I’m sputtering along, not thinking clearly, spending too much time dithering over details. Then I’ll do something that lets System One take over, such as playing Free Cell or Computer Hearts. After a game or two of these simple diversions, I’m often much more efficient when I return to productive work.

But I digress (does that come as a shock?). While I do not believe in the Ritual of New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided I’m a victim of System One creep, and something needs to be done about it. I haven’t found any volunteers to correct the situation, so I guess I’ll have to do it myself.

Henceforth, I’m returning to my once-rigorous daily schedule of writing, learning about writing, teaching writing, promoting writing, and reading (“writing” is implied here). There. It’s said, ergo, it’s done! And the first beneficiary of the decision will be the novel I’m working on, whose birth has been oh so slow and painful. Come to think of it, I guess that makes me the primary beneficiary. And that’s the way it should be, right?

Happy New Year, everyone.



Next week: Whatever it is, let’s hope it’s a product of System Two.

New posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.


  1. Great post, Don! And an excellent resolution for the new year. May I borrow your term "System One creep"? I love it.

  2. Thanks. Feel free to use System One creep. And thank you for the general premises which I worked.


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