Resolve to Enjoy

New York Times journalist John Tierney once wrote an article in which he suggested that we should all adopt the New Year’s resolution: Have fun … now!” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/29/science/29tier.html?_r=1)

He noted that millions of us are “procrastinators of pleasure,” as proven by the winecompanies that “save billions of dollars each year from gift certificates that expire unredeemed.” Mr. Tierney suggests that we begin the new year by finding “the strength to cash in your gift certificates, drink that special bottle of wine, redeem your frequent flier miles and take that vacation you always promised yourself.”

The reality is – as proven by a variety of research experiments – the longer we put off pleasure, the less likely we are to indulge in it. Mr. Tierney wrote that “The longer you wait to open that prize bottle of wine, the more special the occasion has to be” – or so we think.

Perhaps you can talk yourself out of procrastination by remembering your manners. Suzanne B. Shu, professor of marketing at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests cashing gift certificates in quickly is really the polite thing to do. “One of the best presents you can give back to the [gift certificate] giver is to use it quickly and then tell them how much you enjoyed it. The regret from not using it will be bigger than the regret from using it on a nonperfect occasion, for you and especially for the person who gave it.”

If all else fails, Mr. Tierney suggests we remember the advice offered in the movie “Sideways” to Miles, who has been holding on to a ’61 Cheval Blanc so long that it is in danger of going bad. When Miles says he is waiting for a special occasion, his friend Maya puts matters in perspective:

 “The day you open a ’61 Cheval Blanc, that’s the special occasion.”

 Talk about it

  • Do you postpone joy? In what ways?

  •  What pleasurable things have you been putting off? Can you do them now or in the next week or month? Make a pact with a friend to do them!

 

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