When people create all those self-punishing lists of resolutions that sound like a list of prison rules, their ultimate goal is to improve the quality of their lives and become happier. My suggestion is that we take a short-cut and aim directly for happiness without all this self-inflicted torture.
People seem to believe that in order to be successful in life and achieve their professional, intellectual, personal, financial, etc. goals, they need to force themselves to suffer and limit enjoyment to the bare minimum. Such people are making a tragic mistake.
Of all the people I know, I’m the person who is most capable of guilt-free enjoyment of life. Not a day goes by without me organizing some sort of a relaxing, enjoyable, pleasant activity for myself. Many years ago, I decided (after observing the lives of perennially miserable, overworked, overscheduled, exhausted Soviet women) that my life would be about doing exactly what I want to do and not doing what I don’t want to do at any given time.
For years, I have been hearing that my philosophy of life as a constant process of enjoyment will make me a failure. However, precisely because of this philosophy I have achieved a lot more than every single advocate of endless self-torture than I know. At the age of 36, I live the kind of live I dreamed about living ten, fifteen, twenty years ago down to the minutest detail. The only thing that I’m not completely happy about is the climate of the area where I live, but you have to agree that as existential grievances go, this one is pretty minor.
Contrary to popular opinion, spending a lot of time on “useless” highly enjoyable activities makes you more, rather than less, productive and efficient. This is why putting something like “snoozing on the couch to the sound of relaxing music at least three times a week” is a good New Year’s resolution.
[To be continued. . .]