Much of the following, including several of the suggestions, is from Nassem Taleb's Facebook wall.
Negative interdicts work so much better than positive commandments. Perhaps this is why the Abrahamic traditions (Thou Shalt Not ten commandments, and more specifically halal and kashrut/kosher dietary proscriptions), as well as Patanjali's Sutras, have so many of them. Perhaps the fact that it's easier to take away than to add on is why negative suggestions survive the passage of time.
As I mentioned, Patanjali's yamas (ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, aparigraha) are all negative proscriptions (if we consider 'satya' as 'don't lie' rather than 'tell the truth' and 'brahmacharya' as 'don't have sex').
In the spirit of these traditions, and following the suggestion of negative suggestions, here are some New Year's Resolutions:
- Don't touch your cellphone during a meal.
- Do not gaze upon a screen one hour before bedtime, nor one hour following rising.
- Do not eat sweets except on Saturday.
- Do not eat processed food.
- Do not abandon your resolutions if you slip.
Jason owns and directs Portland Ashtanga Yoga.