A year ago, I wrote a story about my new year’s resolutions for 2021. To be honest, I had completely forgotten about it until the woman who owns all my stuff reminded me last week that I had listed a number of goals in that piece, but being nicer to her and being more receptive to what she wants was not in the top 3.
Do better this year, she gently suggested, as only a spouse of over 40 years can.
“Yeah, what she said, but for me too,” said a certain brown and white dog who answers to the name “Wonderbeagle.”
So there will be no goals or resolutions this year. In fact, the point of any resolution I might have made this year would be to avoid all the numbers and measurements that seem to have dominated my life these last 65 years.
It starts the first time anyone plays sports, as it is drilled into you to always strive to do better than you did the last time. You measure how long, how fast, how much, etc. and then next time out, see how you fare in pursuit of a “personal best.” It then progresses to your business life, where you compare previous performance in other months, quarters and years to determine success. If you can’t measure it, you find yourself saying, you can’t manage it.
Then at one point later in life you find yourself walking around in a circle in your living room at 11 PM on a Thursday night. Why? Because you’re 113 steps shy of 10,000 steps and you just can’t let that happen. Doesn’t really matter that 6 laps around the coffee table on carpet in your bare feet doesn’t have much of an impact on your overall fitness. But by then you’ve become a slave to the numbers.
The obsession ends up extending far beyond exercise. I like to read, but found myself looking up all the titles I’d consumed for the year in December to see how many books I’d read in 2021. Did it matter? No. But other people were posting on social media how many books they’d read, how many miles they walked, etc. And if you’re a competitive person, you HAVE to keep up with all these people on social media. That you’ve never met. And never will. And don’t even know their real names.