I find resolutions fascinating, mostly because people have such strong reactions for or against them. Folks tend to fall into two camps:
- I must lose 20 pounds, work out more, finally get through War and Peace.
- Resolutions are stupid, self-destructive, and are the end of civilization as we know it.
Of course there are entire industries to support both options. There are experts to tell you in great detail how to lose 20 pounds, work out more, and get through War and Peace. I’ll bet you could rattle off some of the tips without so much as a Google search. “Set realistic goals, have an exercise buddy, stalk your high school English teacher on Facebook and see if he or she will accept a report on War and Peace from you as a way to be accountable.” Blah, blah, blah. Who among us can honestly say we haven’t been sucked into one of those lists of top 10 ways to succeed at your resolutions? Liars.
The anti-resolution people are just as adamant and have their own lists of why people fail. These experts maintain that most people making resolutions are doomed and their failure just reinforces the bad feelings that led them to the resolutions in the first place. Then the bad feeling forces the hapless resolvers to do better the next year, with the same results. It’s a vicious cycle that the anti-resolution people seem to kind of enjoy writing lists about.
The truth is that probably most people start off in the first camp and get so pissed off they become members of the second camp. But let’s get real. Both sides have their points, and there’s every reason to believe you are good enough and smart enough (and gosh darn it people probably like you) to continue on with your life without having to lose 20 pounds, work out more, or read War and Peace. That is unless you were that person in front of me who was still stopped, even though the traffic light had turned green, because you were texting, watching a kitten video, or checking your Twitter feed. Then you really are as bad as your resolutions are going to make you feel, and I hope you fail miserably every year.
I don’t think it’s a bad idea to review once a year where you are in your life and what you have become, especially if you have become a phone zombie. If you feel like you could make a few changes, take heart and listen up. The problem is people set their sights too high. Forget about all that “make specific, manageable goals” poppycock. The key my friends is be less specific and keep the bar low. For example, if you want to lose weight, downgrade it to eating better. The beauty of this is that it can mean anything you want. Just inhaled a Snickers bar? No problem, eat an apple chaser. Better eating. Done.
Family driving you crazy? No worries. Your resolution could be to have more patience with them. So next time Uncle Bob is hocking a loogie at the dinner table, just go to your happy place. You get credit for not launching yourself at Uncle Bob and pummeling the loogie out of him. See? More patience. Done. God, how I love that disgusting phrase, hock a loogie. My resolution is to work it into my daily life at least once. Oh, look! I just did. Done. And I also resolve to use the fun word “poppycock” in a sentence. Yes! Two for two!
You are now a resolution rock star. You’re welcome. Happy New Year!