A Prescription for Resolution

by Dan Walsh

“No wound is more cruel to the spirit of resolve than that dealt by failure.”

-Arnold Bennet

I’ve lately been devouring self-help books from the early 1900′s. Many have been on the topic of willpower, creativity, personal development and mental efficiency. They are surprisingly cogent and applicable given that they were written almost 100 years ago. The latest book, Mental Efficiency And Other Hints to Men and Women, by Arnold Bennet, includes a 3-part ¬†prescription for carrying out resolutions which I think is surprisingly still applicable to today’s men and women. Here is my summary.

1. Do not undertake too much at the beginning. Start with a ridiculously easy challenge and accomplish it. This will result in the satisfaction of having resolved to do something, and having followed through on it. If fitness were the goal, then walking around the block once a week would be a good, easy start. The insights gained during this challenge will also help direct further efforts, and give a good sense on what is actually achievable.

2. Keep the new resolution a secret until there is something to discuss. New regiments, ideas, or projects can easily be derailed by a few negative comments. Win a few battles before bragging to others and the resolution will not only be able to withstand more abuse, but it may even discourage detractors in the first place.

3. Carve out generous time to work on this resolution. If 30 minutes of exercise is the goal, then allot 60. Especially as a beginner, it will be necessary to have extra time. Resolving to accomplish something is excellent, but there must also be adequate time to execute.