Resigned to Resolve
Vol: 39 Issue: 31 Friday, December 31, 2004
Resigned to Resolve
At this time of year, it is traditional in our culture to make New Year’s ‘resolutions’ — solemn promises to ourselves relating to self-improvement for the new year.
People are swearing off fatty foods, promising themselves that this will be the year that they quit smoking, or solemnly affirming to buy [or use] a gym membership to work off a few pounds and maybe lower their cholesterol.
So, at the stroke of midnight, many of us are going to make New Year’s resolutions. We are going to promise ourselves that things will be better in 2005 than they were in 2004. And then, most of us will fail like a one-armed man in a juggling contest.
We usually fail in our resolutions because we set our sights too high. Every New Year’s Eve we resolve to abandon ALL our bad habits, and by January 2nd, we start paring down the list.
Instead of resolving to lose fifty pounds, we decide that a more realistic goal would be to promise NOT to gain another twenty over the course of the New Year.
Instead of resolving to work out at the gym every other day for the whole year, we promise to drive by the gym more often.
Instead of quitting smoking, we resolve to smoke less than a pack a day.
Or we promise this year not to argue with our spouse. By January 2nd, that resolution is diluted to read more like; “I’m going to be nice about it when I tell them how wrong they are.”
I had a friend who resolved to give up beer at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day. (He rewarded himself on January 2nd with a beer)
Some New Year’s resolutions are about us, but the most interesting resolutions are the ones we make for other people. (“I’m going to quit smoking — and so are you!”)
Those are the easiest ones to fail without feeling like a failure. You just hide a pack of cigarettes where your spouse can find them and wait. (Then you can feel good about yourself because you sneaked a smoke forty seconds after midnight.)
Making resolutions for the New Year can be revealing, but what they reveal about us to ourselves is something we knew all along but refuse to admit, even though we prove it, year after year. We can’t keep them.
According to Rachael Crofts, writing in the Scotsman, nine million adults in the UK will make New Year’s resolutions. And fifty-four percent of them will be the same resolutions they made last year.
One in three of THOSE will have lost their resolve during the first week of 2005.
I have my own list of New Year’s resolutions for 2005.
1) To answer more of my emails. (I resolved that last year, too)
2) To be a better husband and father. (Another repeat)
3) To give up some of my less healthful practices. (This one is another annual favorite)
4) To exercise more. (LOL)
5) To listen more than I talk. ( ROFLOL)
6) To spend less than I earn. (I am resolving THAT one for Gayle — I really NEEDED a pool table)
7) To get up earlier and eat breakfast.
8) To be kinder to useful idiots who email me to tell me that George Bush is the antichrist and that America is the Great Satan.
9) To read all the way through emails from the useful idiots (see 8) BEFORE telling them that they are idiots.
10) To look at this list again after January 1, 2005
I have one more resolution — one that I just might be able to keep.
Barring some cataclysmic event taking place in the next twenty-four hours that demands attention, I resolve to take this New Year’s Day off in order to give my full attention to the New Year’s resolutions that I intend to break.
[I am already pretty sure that #7 will be a goner before lunchtime tomorrow. I’ll have #4 dispatched by suppertime]
Gayle and I send all our love and our prayers for all of you. May our Lord bless each of you with a happy, safe and prosperous 2005.
And may THIS be the Year of the Trumpet.
Happy New Year!