This will likely end my holiday inspired, soul searching round of posting. The end of the year, the holiday season, family gatherings yield a lot of food for thought in that department. My holidays have been a bit of a mixed bag. The glow of Christmas lights and the ringing of caroling voices was eclipsed by the grumble of old wounds being opened and losses being counted.
We have returned to NYC, a little worn and weary, also thankful and glad. As I said, it’s a mixed bag. So, in the spirit of beginning the year with a positive attitude, I am going to tell you why you should not make a New Years Resolution this year, but go a step further.
Resolve has a plethora of definitions in the dictionary. It’s got three main headers, with sub-definitions branching off. Here is the gist, though:
Resolve: settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter); (a symptom or condition) to disperse, subside, or heal; decide firmly on a course of action.
It’s a pretty serious word. It stands to reason then, when resolving to do anything (which of course is where we get the term New Years Resolution), you best not be playing around with it. Statistic Brain says about 45% of Americans make New Years Resolutions each December 31st. Of those 45%, only 8% stick with the resolution for any amount of time. That’s fairly lame. There are also statistics for those who infrequently make resolutions, meaning not every year. I fall into that category.
It’s not a matter of being unable to think of something to improve. I will be the first to say that I can improve in almost every area of my life. If you can’t use a little tweak all around, you’re probably seriously deluding yourself. Most of us are lacking. Even supermodels are wanting somewhere. Even billionaires suck somehow. This is how balance is maintained in the universe. It’s also the only way we haven’t digressed into the talent crippling society featured in the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. short Harrison Bergeron.
To get back to what I was saying…I just don’t like to set myself up for failure. This actually is an area I could improve on. I won’t even play a board game if I think I’m going to lose. (I know, I am still considering therapy.) But making New Years Resolutions is just a bad idea. Even if you like to fail, even if your inadequacy gives you the warm-fuzzies. NYR’s aren’t touching the reason you’ve gained weight this year, or you can’t stop buying Hobbit merchandice from Gandolf1965 on Ebay.
And this is why you shouldn’t do it. Look at your cottage cheese thighs and your compulsion to drink in the afternoon, and say, “No, this year I will not be duped by you.” I just ate an entire package of roasted seaweed and drank a glass of wine. Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Do not give in to the first brainless (and likely true) thing you stumble on. Do not be distracted by the easiest or most obvious issue. If you are overweight, yes, you should probably lose those extra pounds this year. If heart disease runs in your family, probably centering your diet around heart healthy foods would be a good plan. If you have mounds of credit card debt, maybe cutting back on the online shopping is a step in the right direction. (And no one needs that many Bilbo figurines. Not even Peter Jackson.)
Those are all things you should be doing anyway, new year or not. What I’m talking about is resolving. Finding a solution for a problem. Healing a suffering. Deciding on a course to take and taking it. To resolve is to buckle down and do some dirty work, and when the work is done, you come out on the other side different.
Instead of resolving to lose weight (and then not), or to exercise everyday (which will last until the weekend), or to “enjoy life to the fullest” (which is bullshit and subjective), resolve instead. Before you make resolutions for improvement, resolve to find why you must improve. Examine the truth of who you are, where you are in life, and and how satisfied you are with that assessment. Then resolve to do something about it. I suggest doing the soul searching without any help from booze, and without stepping on the scale first. Self-loathing and a migraine will not help. Otherwise, this may become you:
I am only trying to help. I say this all with love. Enjoy the rest of 2012! Endure 2013 with resolve.