Every habit and faculty is formed and strengthened by the corresponding act - walking makes you walk better, running makes you a better runner. If you want to be literate, read, if you want to be a painter, paint. Go a month without reading, occupied with something else, and you’ll see what the result is. And if you’re laid up a mere ten days, when you get up and try to walk any distance you’ll find your legs barely able to support you. So if you like doing something do it regularly; if you don’t like doing something, make a habit of doing something different. (Epictetus, Discourses, Book II, 18)
If you want to do something do it, and do it regularly, if you don’t, do something else. How many years have I spent not recognising this simple, basic truth. How much time have I wasted, faffing around, not acting on that simple, clear instruction. Many a time I have failed both ends. Things I have wanted to do have not been done because I thought other things ought to take precedence, whilst for things I don’t want to do, the situation has been far, far worse. I have procrastinated, done them in little bits, agonised and delayed, and not them properly but at the same time this has blocked me from doing anything else. This is the worst of all possible worlds as the important part of Epictetus’ advice is to do something else.
Janathon should in theory give you no way out - you have to carry on and do something. Well you have to if you don’t want to backslide, which is what I did yesterday. My excuse was that we had people round for lunch and all the morning was spent preparing and cooking and in the evening, when everyone had gone, there was the sad realisation that I had drunk far too much and was in no fit state. So the day passed. Am I sad? Unfortunately, for all of you who believe we should rigorously stick to our resolutions, I would have to say no. I made a positive choice to do something else and I have to be happy with that.