Resolving to keep resolutions

Like most people, you probably won’t let New Year’s Eve go by
without making a few resolutions. After all, no matter how much we
should all know better, we can’t help resolving, time and time
again, to do little things to improve the quality of our life.
Like most people, you probably won’t let New Year’s Eve go by without making a few resolutions. After all, no matter how much we should all know better, we can’t help resolving, time and time again, to do little things to improve the quality of our life. But let’s face it: every one knows that resolutions don’t really work. After all, if they did, we’d be surrounded by hoards of nonsmoking, thin people come mid-spring. So why do we even bother? My theory is that it’s the appeal of a fresh start and a new beginning that drives otherwise rational people to make resolutions.

Of course, some people do follow through with their resolutions. But these are also the same types of people who floss regularly and wash their windows every spring (and you know who you are). But, being as I don’t qualify for that group, you can understand why I’m not overly enthusiastic about making any new resolutions this year. Rather, I figured I’d save time by rolling over the old ones from last year. I know, I know, that’s not exactly a great attitude. Still, I’ve come to the radical conclusion that a year is not enough time to make major lifestyle changes.

Oh, it’s not like I don’t try to stick to my resolutions. Every year, I wake up on the first of January eager and determined to get in shape and organize my life and be more patient with my loved ones and all that. I come downstairs and eat my half of grapefruit while explaining to my children in great detail everything from why Paris Hilton perhaps isn’t the role model I’d choose for them, to why trees can’t sneeze. Then I put on my new sweat suit and set out on a nice, two-mile jog before returning to organize my linen closet.

On January third, I’m still determined to stick to my resolutions, but since by now I’m getting hungry from all of the fresh air, I add toast and scrambled eggs to my grapefruit. By January fifth, I skip the grapefruit altogether and reduce my exercise program to walking down the driveway to get the mail. Needless to say, by the time February rolls around I’m too busy eating jelly doughnuts and watching trashy television talk shows to remember what, exactly, my resolutions were in the first place.

Now I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that things won’t be any different his year. And you’re probably right.

So this year, I did what any well-educated, weak person would do: I went to a local bookstore and skimmed all of the magazine articles about how to stick to resolutions. One article said that the most important thing to do if you don’t succeed is to determine the barriers that blocked you and try again. I created a mental list of everything that forced me to break my past resolutions like, say, loose candy flying into my mouth, but it only verified what I had suspected all along: the major barrier preventing me from keeping my resolutions is, well, me.

But just when I was ready to give up and go back to my old resolution-breaking ways, another article suggested that people should choose more realistic goals they can meet. Now that’s more like it.

So, after eliminating everything that requires will-power or physical stamina, my new goals for 2005 are: I will vacuum every other week, buy more take-out Chinese food, and not feel guilty about leaving things like sewing Girl Scout patches and washing the car to seasoned professionals.

Of course, whenever I tell anybody about these they look at me like I’m insane or something. But at least this year it won’t be so hard to keep my resolutions. In fact, I have a feeling, I might even enjoy it.

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