Ending the year takes a lot of resolve

 

As you are sitting there knee-deep in the remnants of Christmas
Day
– ripped-to-shreds wrapping paper, instruction books for all the
new gadgets you received for Christmas (never mind you haven’t a
clue where you’ll stash said new gadgets in a house already
squished full-to-bursting with gadgets), you’re undoubtedly feeling
a little pin prickling at the back of yo
ur neck that there is still one more thing requiring your
attention.
As you are sitting there knee-deep in the remnants of Christmas Day – ripped-to-shreds wrapping paper, instruction books for all the new gadgets you received for Christmas (never mind you haven’t a clue where you’ll stash said new gadgets in a house already squished full-to-bursting with gadgets), you’re undoubtedly feeling a little pin prickling at the back of your neck that there is still one more thing requiring your attention.

Yes, you’ve suffered … er, celebrated the year’s busiest holiday and you have one more task to accomplish before calling it a year, before putting up your feet, taking a deep breath and initiating an extreme bargaining session with your spouse about who is going to take down all those holiday decorations.

That’s right, friends, it’s time to make your New Year’s Resolutions. And let’s just face facts here. After the food and shopping frenzies of the past several weeks, it might do us all good to resolve to rein it in a bit.

Still, that’s easier said than done. Can’t say no to eggnog? Fixated on fudge? Blow-out after-Christmas sales calling your name?

Perhaps this is why we cling so persistently to the notion that a fresh set of New Year’s Resolutions will halt our rapid decline on the skids of holiday excesses. Frankly, I can’t remember ringing in a new year when it didn’t cross my mind to henceforth incorporate some life-improving resolve into my daily routine.

I place blame for this fixation of doggedly preparing the annual list of resolutions squarely on whom it belongs: my elementary school teachers. That’s right; it began back in the day when we printed our promises carefully with number two pencils onto that pulpy textured paper. Third grade was a banner year of resolutions for me: “1: Be nice to my parents. 2: Be nice to my little brother. 3: Be nice to my dog. 4: Be nice to … ” and so on.

Like most people, these days my resolutions center around living a fuller life by budgeting better, worrying less, laughing more and weeding out destructive habits such as spending the long winter evenings curled up on the couch with a quart of Chunky Monkey.

Now such lofty goals are quite noble and all but what happens when we slip up? How do we react when we fall off the resolution bandwagon? And come on, we know it’s going to happen because history shows that by the second week of January, at least a couple of those resolutions will have bitten the dust. Then the destructive self-flagellation begins: I’m weak. I have no self discipline. I have a terminal case of arrested development.

But help is here, friends, because this is the year you’re going to break the cycle of promising to do better and falling short. That’s right; you can still make meaningful resolutions but now you can avoid the defeat of dealing with your own broken promises. It’s all about selecting important and meaningful goals that you can really stick to for the entire year.

Now people will tell you that it’s better to think in the positive when making resolutions – and I’m here to tell you that thinking positive is what got you into trouble in the first place. Vow that you’re going to run 10 miles every day? Oops – that’s an iron-clad guarantee for failure. Instead, let’s approach it from another direction, shall we? Here, for example, is my own list of infallible resolutions for 2009:

1. In 2009 I will not become Miss America, Miss Universe, Miss Sweet Potato Pie or any other beauty contest winner requiring swimsuit attire.

2. In 2009 I will not try out for the women’s synchronized swimming team for the 2010 Olympics. Nor will I train for the women’s downhill ski race for the 2012 winter games.

3. In 2009 I will not undergo any cosmetic surgeries costing more than our annual income or the sum total of our yearly utility bills, whichever is greater.

That’s it! Only three resolutions, you ask? Why yes, and I’m pretty darned sure I can keep every last one of them, thereby giving myself a real boost in the old self esteem department. Why, I feel better already!

And well, OK, there was that fourth resolution that I don’t want to talk about. You know, the one about next Christmas when the decorating of the house, the gift shopping and wrapping, the baking of cookies and the sending of greeting cards will all be finished by the first week of December. Yes; that one has been permanently banished from my New Year’s Resolution list because if there was any chance of being an honest-to-goodness Domestic Diva, my name would be Martha Stewart.

Leave your comments