Friday, January 17, 2020

New Year's Resolutions

The quickest way to get somebody to gnash their teeth, roll their eyes and groan right about now is to ask them how they’re doing in keeping their resolutions. It’s safe to say that easily ninety percent of the resolutions made a little over two weeks ago have probably fallen by the wayside. And that’s not an entirely bad thing. In fact, it actually makes good sense.

The majority of professional development counselors suggest allowing a period of evaluation before following through on changes that can have a major impact on your life. Dr. Snerdly J. Quandaree, author of “I’m Okay, You’re Okay (But Those Guys Over There are all Sorts of Screwed Up),” advises his clients to allow at least two week’s time for the potential impacts to become apparent before accepting a course of action, or change, as permanent.

Now would be just about the right time to rethink those resolutions made in haste just before we plunged into the new decade. Speaking strictly from personal experience, any and all resolutions made on December 31, when in the heat of partying the old year away, should be the first to be stricken from the list.

If you do not agree that those resolutions made on New Year’s Eve should be jettisoned immediately, ask yourself this question: Is it prudent to mold the next 50 weeks of my life around the irrational thoughts and faulty conclusions of someone so intemperate as to require the use of a cab to get home? (If your answer isn’t a resounding and immediate, “I think NOT!,” would you help me find my car?)

Resolutions previously made and not kept should also be automatically and immediately discarded. Why borrow trouble? It’s obvious the resolution was too hard to follow once before. How could it possibly be any more reasonable, or any easier to keep now? Such repetitions are pointless, and in fact, are a detriment to the well-being of those who would make such second attempts. Frankly, it does no good to continually set yourself up for failure. It can only lead to a crippling reinforcement of poor self esteem. And too, the same failed resolutions get old after about the second or third decade.

Losing weight is the number one resolution
The perpetual resolution to lose weight is an excellent example of the type of failed resolutions pulled out and dusted off with every ringing in of the New Year. In addition to the possible harm dieting failure could inflict on a person’s self-esteem, there is also solid financial justification to avoid dieting resolutions. One of the reasons diet resolutions should be given the heave-ho is cost. All the fancy, special diets seem to focus on the most expensive foods available. I suspect those diets might work, simply because one can’t afford to eat.

“Okay, here’s the first day’s dinner. Boy, it sure sounds good: crab-stuffed halibut served on a bed of baby asparagus.”

By the time you’ve paid for the diet you’re so stressed out worrying about how to pay for it all, bingeing on high calorie, high carbohydrate comfort foods only makes sense.

Another doomed to failure resolution is the “I will exercise every day” resolution. Sure you will, if you count things like reaching across the table for a third helping of biscuits and gravy at breakfast, or an extra stick or two of butter for your second helping of mashed potatoes at dinner, as stretching exercises. Let’s all face facts: the word exercise is very subjective. What is one person’s casual exercise is another’s strenuous workout.

“Whoooeee, baby! That oughta take a few pounds off!”

“Look at you, all red-faced and breathing hard! What’d you do, go for a long run?”

“No, carried in the groceries. They were having a sale on ice cream, so I really stocked up. Darn bag musta weighed fifteen pounds!”

In my estimation, as a means of maintaining good health, all health-related resolutions need to be discarded immediately. Doing so would improve a person’s overall wellbeing because it would eliminate stress. Numerous studies have shown conclusively that stress createsmore health problems than most other causes. Never argue with proven scientific facts.

Another group of resolutions in desperate need of being scrapped immediately is the self-improvement category. These resolutions are based on a sincere- and more often than not, unrealistic- desire to better the world by bettering oneself. We’ve all made those kinds of foolish resolutions. Here are a few examples along with what would have been more reasonable alternatives.

Instead of – “I resolve to read literary classics in lieu of watching any reality television shows,” try this: “In 2020, I resolve to learn all the lyrics to Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

Lighten up by skipping – “I will learn to speak fluent Latin,” and go with: “I will memorize all the names of the NASCAR drivers this year.”

Replace – “I will spend more time studying the brush techniques of the Renaissance Masters,” with “I will expand my knowledge and appreciation of Asian culture by becoming intimately familiar with the take-out menu at a nearby Chinese restaurant.”

If you find yourself tempted to follow through with all this resolution nonsense, consider this: New Year’s resolutions just might serve as crutches for folks too weak to face their own flaws.