A (very) short history on this so-difficult-to-escape-from habit. If I am to trust my source, which I do, it is based on real facts. If you're looking for a method or looking for encouragement in order to achieve (or the opposite), you are warned this is not the right parabole to listen to. This is just (or pretends to be) a brief piece of literature, originally written in Spanish by the translator himself. Jobs are scarce these days and (or because), you know, everyone is demanded to multitask.
Our main figure, to whom I will call X in order not to betray the trust he has shown to me by telling me all that follows, had tried everything over the years. Such a long list that, almost unwittingly, one of the resolutions should be attained. Focusing himself on a single goal but on one that was truly stimulating. To define an action plan up to the utmost detail, broken down in stages, sections and subsections, to keep a thorough register of the tasks completed and the progresses… In forms that he printed every week he kept crossing out joyfully what was already attained and marking with highlighter pens what was still pending. He used three different colors depending on the term. Pink —‘it really sucks but red highlighter pens don´t exist’, I remember he said to me— for the short term, blue for the mid and green for the long term. The administrative burden crushed him and the progressive neglect of the formal side, which became at least as important as the substantive side, brought forward and reinforced in X the feeling of failure. Before springtime he had already given up.
The following year he fully changed his strategy. He grabbed a couple of old newspapers that were still left at his place, he looked up for the horoscopes section and he tried to imitate the style thoroughly. It was useless. At the end of the day, he felt as if removing the leaves of a daisy that added up to an odd number (attained) or to a pair number (unattained) in parallel to the fluctuations of his mood. Often, he was not even able to remember, with a precision that was worth checking results, what he had set out to meet. He doubted about everything.
The years went by and “X” continued to smoke. For weeks, even full months, he didn´t show by the gym, at the very best his English level remained the same, he was still some few pounds overweighted and lacking muscle, and he didn´t manage to get some time for reading every day. Among other things, because he also went to bed so late that he didn´t brush his teeth, the whirlwinds of lovers’ quarrels kept being triggered by trifles, it was not infrequent that his kitchen smelled of well-cured garbage and the dog continued to lack walks.
After endless thinking over the matter, he felt he had come up with the solution. It was so clear and simple that he was puzzled not to have found it earlier. The Chinese had not only became the masters of the capitalism. From the Far East came, in addition, a much superior wisdom, perhaps now allocated to export trade mainly. The secret of happiness laid in not to wish anything, in a meek acceptance of facts and circumstances. Whatever occurred, it happened because it had to and it must be accepted without any suffering.
For the New Year he resolved himself not to take any resolution. This time he will make it. It was going to be really easy but he couldn´t avoid noticing the contradiction: if you set out not to set out to do anything you have already set out to do something. However, he made a big effort to dismiss his cultural background, so burdened by useless formalities such as logic and patents. In the moments leading up to the changing of the year he shut his eyes and, making a remarkable effort, he tried to let his mind go blank. Emptiness, pure present. Nor to take stock of the year just about to end, neither to anticipate the one so close to its start. What already was and what is yet to come are both illusions, mental traps. He right away realized that it had been the biggest of his failures. Barely had the new year started when he already broke his resolution.