I keep reading about how less than 10% of people manage to keep their resolutions within the first month of the new year. Things to do to improve your chances of ‘making it’? Visualize it. Write it down. Divide up your resolutions into more manageable goals. Make it about quantity rather than vague concepts. Yada-yada-yada. And only 12 days into January I’ve managed to somewhat stray from what I had resolved to accomplish this year.
Hell, I’m even trying the write-it-down/visualize-it method. One of my ‘resolves’ for this year is to maintain some sanity at work, which means not becoming so angry or taking things at work so personally that it would affect my mental and physical well-being. My lovely/frightened friends have dubbed this the “Goodbye” Method.
*If you’re old enough to remember AOL/America Online, there’s a male voice that greets you with a “HELLO” and a “GOODBYE” when you sign off. Yes, I am referring to THAT “GOODBYE.”*
I typed up my mantra for dealing with the idiocy at work and included a speech bubble clearly stating “GOODBYE” boldly. I placed it in my line of sight, so that all I would need to do while on the phone or writing an email is look up, breathe, repeat mantra to myself in a calm inner-voice, and thus control my anger.
Yeah, it’s not really doing the job. Sure, it’s been up for over a week and a habit takes 30 days to form or break, so I need to give it time, right? The problem is, the more I deal with such asinine situations, the less patience I have. So I angrily look at that piece of paper, shooting daggers from my eyes, and through clenched teeth whisper under my breath, “I will not get angry, I will not get angry… GODDAMMIT.”
For some reason, even though it should be easier to visualize the reality of this particular resolution since it is now in writing, my belief in the truth behind this mantra is even moreso questioned. Why should these words on a piece of paper make staying calm easier? How can they solidify my faith in myself or prevent my rage from bubbling over?
My co-workers joke (sorta) about the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza goes on a rampage after attempting a zen-like state by repeating “Serenity Now.” Except they find it hilarious that one day I will snap and go around stabbing people while quietly whispering to myself “GOODBYE.” That’s actually kinda fitting, no?
It’s much easier to commit to a resolution where you’re in control of all of the factors involved — if you’re trying to learn a new skill, you make the time, buy the supplies, commit to knitting that scarf because you CAN and you WILL. When it’s something more abstract and impossible to hold in your hands, such as one’s sanity, the lack of a physical presence seems to drop the item lower on your list of resolutions.
My problem doesn’t like in how everyone else behaves at work (ok, it’s a derivative), but since in this situation I can only control my own responses and reactions, why not distance myself mentally when dealing with unprofessional situations? If they can’t behave professionally, why should I have to reduce my own level of maturity and stoop down to theirs?
Tomorrow is another day, another chance to try again. Maybe this time, my resolve will show less cracking in the visage.