I conducted a survey concerning New Year’s Eve resolutions in preparation for this column. Several things were common among people asked; the number one New Year’s resolution was losing weight, few people were successful at executing their resolutions, no matter what they were, and most said they kept trying every year anyway.
Emmy Lou was part of my survey, and I had extra questions for her. I asked what she thought I should put on my own ‘resolution’ list. Right off the top of her head, she told me I should always pick up after myself and, I should listen to her better.
I didn’t see these as important issues for my self improvement and told her she was purposely misconstruing the intention of resolutions. She made a face, unspoken words sprinkled with expletives that said something like ‘you’re a big fat head’.
I said I should make a resolution not to involve her in any of my future resolutions. Then she refused to answer any more of my survey questions.
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The very first day of a new year has always appealed to me as an ideal time to start something big and important. It’s like a fresh clean sheet of paper, you can write anything you want, a new story for a new you.
I think a cause for failure is that people approach resolutions the same way I have in the past. In the waning days of 2007, I mulled over some changes I wanted to make. Then with a few hours left in the year, I resolved to do something, which I wasn’t able to do for decades.
Closing out 2007, I grazed on celebratory cheese, crackers, pepperoni, and other snacks, a pile big enough to feed a small African village for a week. This after a full week of Holiday eating, (which you may as well call a month ‘cause it really kicked off Thanksgiving).
On top of that, I toasted the coming New Year with three or four or, (Who’s counting?) of Samuel Adams’ liquid refreshment.
I decided to loose twenty pounds.
On the morning of January 1, 2008, I wrote goals down on the computer in my calendar in Outlook. Of course, I rarely look at that calendar. I ended the year about the same weight I started; I have to be satisfied I didn’t gain.
I used to smoke cigarettes. After the first couple of years, I made resolutions to quit every year for almost 20 years. None of them stuck. I eventually gave up smoking but not until I failed the New Year’s resolve one year and set the ides of March as my quitting date. I haven’t smoked since.
I think an “ides of March resolution revolution” is the way to go. When you sit down with that fresh clean sheet of paper on the eve of the New Year, or if you are reading this in January 2009, make sure you have a good eraser on your pencil. Take a while to think about what you are going to do, then commit, around March 15th.
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Few of my survey participants indicated they were happy with their record of keeping resolutions. One optimist though, thought there were probably many more successful resolutionists (OK, I made that word up), than the failures I was tracking.
I obviously do better with resolutions later in the year. How successful are you? I would like to hear about your past or present (and future), successes or failures. To contribute to my survey, drop me a snail mail C/O this paper or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on my blog at: http://changinglanesterry.blogspot.com/