A while back on my blog I remember declaring that the difference between being Paleo and just eating the healthiest way you know how based on your current understanding of nutrition was that the latter was kind of boring. It's just a more interesting mind-set to tell yourself that you're eating a different way now because you're a different kind of eater.
I might have been on to something there. We've all heard about how we humans have a limited amount of willpower and that each decision we make saps a bit more of it. That's why you can have an insanely productive morning and then spend the last three hours of your day in a trance in front of your computer switching among Facebook, Google Reader, and eBay in between tiny spurts of work. (And when I say "you," I mean "me." And when I say "day," I mean "yesterday.") But you know what? While I may have a Facebook problem—and a blog problem, and a developing online shopping problem—I quit Twitter cold turkey over a year ago, and it doesn't take the slightest bit of willpower to stay away from it. It's not that I didn't enjoy Twitter. I just decided I wasn't the type of person who had time to waste on it.
There's some kind of magic to deciding what kind of person you are, rather than what you're going to do. For example, I'm not the type of person who smokes or gambles or runs up credit card debt, so avoiding those activities costs me absolutely nothing from the willpower bank. This year I decided I'm not the type of person who worries about her weight, so now I don't get on the scale. I didn't have to move it out of the bathroom or put a little sign on it; I just don't think about it. And at some point we decided we're the type of family who cooks and eats dinner together, and not the kind who goes to a restaurant just because we're too tired or too lazy to cook.
As an example from the flip side, I found it ridiculously hard to "suffer for 15 minutes a day" to work on organizational projects. (Remember that?) That's a "doing" resolution, and I might as well declare it dead, since it died the day I got all the file folders off my office floor.
I'm going to think carefully about this, though. It might just be that I am an organized person who takes care of those kinds of tasks without a little rule. I feel a manifesto coming on.