By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40: An evolution of the resolution process


April 24, 2020

One of the many age-old questions is this: Is it better to do the right thing for the wrong reason, or the wrong thing for the right reason?

But I’m here to ask this sidebar question: If you do the right thing with no thought behind it whatsoever, is it wrong to later claim you did it for all the right reasons? I’m asking for a friend — just kidding. I’m not going to give any of my friends credit for being thoughtless.

I planted four trees on Earth Day. I thought it was just Wednesday. It was, in fact, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — I found that out later. To be fair, no one mailed me a memo, and I had to find out on Facebook.

My Havre friend, Hilary, said in a post, “I feel like Earth Day should be like New Year’s Day where you make resolutions that help the Earth, except you actually keep them.”

All I could think was that this is a brilliant idea — it’s never occurred to me to actually keep resolutions. Of course New Year’s doesn’t exactly inspire one to try — if I fail this year, I’ll just work on it again with the next new year. No biggie. Earth, though, it’s a sort of one and done affair.

As a side note here, I would like to point out that that the Earth Day people call for, organize and support events all over the world for Earth Day, they have a big mission statement, lofty goals, programs and more. Really they just need to promote the same message our parents tried to teach us when we were little: Don’t be wasteful. Stop breaking sh—stuff. And clean up after yourself. Now.

Meanwhile, back at the idea of resolutions, I was fully prepared to hijack my friend’s resolutions but some on the list I don’t need and others I already do, like “use re-usable diapers.” She has a baby, and it needs diapers. I, on the other hand, figure I have a least 20 years before I’m back in diapers, so how could this be applicable to me?

And the rest of her list? I can’t take the transit bus because I go to work a few hours before it hits the streets. I already buy second hand, reduce, reuse and use things until they are worn out, dead and done for. And I drink water we have filtered ourselves. Plus, apparently, I’ve also already planted trees on Earth Day, so I pretty well had everything on the list covered one way or another, and then some.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and I’m ashamed to say that it took me a lot longer to get to your state of advanced analysis of the situation.

But it did eventually occur to to me that this was exactly the way a person could both make and keep any kind of resolution: resolve to do things you already are or have done or, conversely, to not do things that you already do not or would not do.

Since I have Earth Day all wrapped up, I’m planning my New Year’s resolutions already, and I’m looking forward to achieving all my goals.

1. Get out of bed every day, even if it’s just to go to the bathroom and the fridge.

2. Eat solid foods and drink liquids.

3. Continue to not smoke, but don’t give up the Diet Coke.

4. Swear too much, the colorful language suits your personality and matches your skin tone.

5. While you’re at it, make sarcastic observations about life, laugh at inappropriate things and over-share.

I think that’s enough. Too much success might go to my head. And I don’t want those failures who don’t understand the key to resolution lists to feel too bad when they see me winning at life.


I think we have officially transcended the age-old question’s right-and-wrongness of the things and reasons. My work here is done for today at .


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