New Year's Resolutions 2018 - Promises Hard to Keep


“I’m opening a gym called, “Resolutions.” For the first two weeks it will have exercise equipment, then convert to a bar with yoga pants as the dress code.”

This is not far off from reality. Perhaps the best definition for Resolutions should be, “Unrealistic goals people make at the start of the New Year only to fail miserably and give up after less than a month.” I hate to sound cynical, but many people are doomed to fail. Why is that? And what can we do to stop these likely failures.

Even though I started my Christmas and Chanukah cards in mid-November this year, I found myself once again writing the messages until the very last minute. It drove me absolutely crazy especially considering that I was still fighting the good fight during my precious five-day vacation in Boynton Beach, FL. I should not have been writing cards but enjoying the rare escape from brutal winter. Therefore, the most unrealistic resolution that I have made so far is to start writing next year’s Christmas cards as early as February 2018. I will complete one card per day so I’ll be sitting pretty by next December 1, 2018. It takes a long time to complete each card because I insist on writing from top to bottom. If I should actually go through with this lofty goal then it will probably last a solid week at the most.

The other goal that may be equally unrealistic is losing at least 30 pounds after years of failures. Perhaps one of these days I am going to learn that it is not possible to exercise my way out of a bad diet. Or that I cannot be the “finisher” and be compelled to overeat just to avoid wasting food. I am not sure what my chances are but like many individuals who make these resolutions with the best of intentions the odds are not very good. I try to make my essays as optimistic as possible to avoid depressing the reader, but in this case I think it is important to be quasi-realistic to avoid setting myself up for failure once again.

Is there any easy way to accomplish a New Year’s Resolution? Perhaps nothing will make it easy, but there could be things to do that will augment our chances. We should understand that in the process of trying to make dramatic changes, there is going to be a lot of dramatic failures along the way. There will be weeks we lapse back into sloth and bad habits. Perhaps we should factor in what can only be referred to as “screw up days.” In my own life I fear screw-up days like a plague because one really bad day could have life-altering consequences. The day from hell at work could mean the end of my human service career, for example. But for resolutions we should expect some really horrible days that are not meant to be the end of the world. I wonder if it would help to give us four screw up days per week while pursuing these ambitions. And then after some routine has been established we could shave down our margin of error to only three screw up days. We will have the Attitude of Doom that if we just had a terrible week of returning to runaway bad habits, it is all over. It is not all over. A year is a not a long time, but perhaps it is just barely enough time to turn everything around in our favor.

Perhaps the only true way to increase our chances for success is to inject some serum in our minds that will make it seem like the first of January every single day for the rest of the year as we avoid growing complacent routine and the false illusion of time. Perhaps another resolution is to always have the attitude of, “There is never enough time!” The individuals I am rooting for the most are those who are trying to keep Resolutions that will literally save their lives such as quitting smoking or reversing morbid obesity.

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