Einerson: Wu Wei-ing my way to successful New Year's resolutions - East Idaho News

Einerson: Wu Wei-ing my way to successful New Year’s resolutions

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Last week my wife (Amie) asked me to review a yoga workshop she had prepared to help people set goals for the New Year. While I was reviewing her outline I kind of got an uneasy feeling and at first I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong.

I can’t remember all the details of what her worksheet asked me to do but some of the main points went something like this:

  • Make a list of goals you want to accomplish.
  • For each of these goals identify the small steps you need to accomplish to complete each of these.
  • Write down all of these steps …

It was at about this point, as I was imagining writing down each of these steps, that uneasiness began to grow.

As I talked to Amie about it I realized that I was becoming uncomfortable because I was beginning to set goals contrary to a principle I have really grown to value. A principle that I have incorporated into counseling and which has personally helped me become more productive and more balanced over the past year: Wu Wei.

Wu Wei is a Taoist term and can be interpreted to mean a lot of different things but I was introduced to it as simply meaning “strive without straining.”

There is nothing wrong with the above three steps. Indeed, I first learned about them when I was being trained as an officer for the Army, they called it “back planning” and since then I have seen the idea in numerous research articles validating its effectiveness.

But here is the thing … My list is already a mile long!

Heck, I don’t even need to write a list of goals down because the responsibilities of life already have them written for me. In fact sometimes I feel like if I were to add one more item to that list the whole thing might go up in flames! So why should I go through an exercise like this?

For me it’s worthwhile so I can figure out what or who I need to say no too.


I’m not sure who originally said it but there is a quote that goes something like this: “for everything you say YES to, you are saying NO to something else.”

I have come to the conclusion that, for me, writing down my New Year’s resolutions is a worthwhile activity so I can cross things off so I can STRIVE to obtain what is most important to me with less personal and family STRAIN. In other words, Wu Wei.

Last week Amie had her Yoga workshop……

And to quote the lyrics of a song that needs no introduction — at least to any parent with a girl under the age of ten — it looks like they LET IT GO.