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Progress Report on New Year's Resolutions

More than once I have warned the reader against the under-rated scourge of the Early Bedtime Syndrome. I took the Fabian approach to vanquishing it, and now have the proud and happy task of telling you that I have officially beaten it. (Note the present perfect tense of the verb.)

Postponing bedtime by a minute or two per day worked at the beginning. Then I plateau-ed at one minute every two days. I actually recorded it on a calendar. Bedtime is now beyond 2200 hours. At 2230 I'll probably back off and leave well enough alone.

It was not easy, and at times, I attacked the problem with a desperate heroism. Even if that is a silly and pretentious way to put it, it is still true that I had to imagine it so, in order to succeed. I was willing to use any technique that worked -- even going so far as doing housework when I started fading!

When you wake up in the morning and see Dawn, you can't help but feel that all is right with the world, and that your day has great potential. But the satisfaction of beating this thing goes deeper. It is a potential model and metaphor for more complex achievements with food and money. Beating the Early Bedtime Syndrome had a huge advantage: it was univariate and capable of precise measurement. 

But the same approach to food or money will run into multivariate confusion. Give the tiniest opportunity, we all tend to become crooked accountants. We fool ourselves about saving money when we are really only playing cost-shifting games. With food or money, we focus on the easily perceivable, the precisely measurable. Then we move certain categories "off budget," and pretend that they don't count. Remember what a wise man once said, "The apparent does not exhaust the real." [Weaver, in "Ideas Have Consequences."]

But if only we could condense any project with food or money down to this univariate and Fabian model. What we wouldn't accomplish!