I made a bold New Year’s Resolution on January 1 of this year. It’s detailed in the post linked here; in summary, I would refrain from buying any new clothing, shoes, or accessories during 2011. I had seen a girlfriend’s 1/1/11 Facebook status announcing her intention to do this, and it made perfect sense in my pursuit of minimalism. A grand experiment dancing around the fringes of asceticism, at the very least.
All year I’ve eschewed shopping malls, or anything retail-ish. Saved a LOT of money. On track to finish strong.
And then, out of the blue, while I was playing Scrabble on Facebook, minding my own business, a devious little ad popped up from my favorite dress shop. They knew I’d click on their banner, didn’t they? I have pretty good willpower, though, and thought I could “just look.” In five minutes’ time an adorable dress caught my eye. I mean ADORABLE. I mean, very “me,” hard to come by. In another minute’s time I had discovered that their inventory of my size was down to two, and no more would be available. You can’t imagine my mental anguish.
I hadn’t had a new dress in sixteen months. I reasoned that I could order it and put it aside until 2012. Click. Ordered.
That was a pretty sad ending to my 88%-successful resolution. It doesn’t matter that the dress size was a bit off and it has been tucked into its return box, the siren call silenced. I broke my resolution by buying a new item of clothing. SAD. In the big picture, though, just having tried feels like a big step in the right direction for me. Valuable lesson learned: 463,680 minutes of strength won’t trump one (1) moment of weakness. Paradoxically, that one moment of weakness does not negate the lessons learned in all my minutes of strength.
This post could use some interaction, so leave a comment. Write anything you’re moved to write except “You did great” or “It’s okay, you can take a Mulligan.” Here are a few things to get you thinking:
- Are all impulsive actions governed by the same mechanisms?
- Why will it be harder for me to finish out the year without buying?
- Personal Q: what are the most difficult things to say No to?
- What needs are being met when we indulge in something we’d rather say No to?
- What’s your strategy for dealing with unsolicited ads? (Don’t tell me to get up and run away, like Joseph did from Pharaoh’s seductress wife. I HAD to finish the Scrabble game.)
- Winston Churchill’s assessments: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” — and — “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Agree? Disagree? Why?