Now, About Those Resolutions



This post was originally written – but not posted – in January 2012. Now, a full year later, it is fun to look at last year’s musings on the topic of New Year’s Resolutions. And a little insightful, too. 

January’s end is upon us, and I haven’t quite finished my list of resolutions yet. Not written ones anyway. And truthfully, isn’t this the point in the year when most of us forget our resolutions anyway?

After all, I found a parking space at the gym yesterday without too much trouble. And my friend who Facebooked every day about her progress reading the entire Bible in six weeks has gone strangely silent. At Costco the other day, I didn’t see that big Nutrisystem display that stood so prominent a month or so ago; it looks like Valentine candy is in full swing at my local CVS, with Cadbury eggs not far behind.

I have plenty of excuses for skimming over the tradition of “resolving” much for 2012. I have lived most of my life on a school-year schedule, and for me the new year always begins in September, not January. It is the time when I get a fresh 18 month calendar and neatly write in birthdays and special occasions. I organize the closets. Those old habits die hard – I guess I am still performing my own rituals of getting school supplies and school clothes, even now.

Still, the notion of resolution-making catches my attention. This past January 1, I couldn’t help but notice the many tips for making and keeping “good” resolutions for 2012 sprinkled through my daily paper and regular stops on the web. Some columnists vowed that they were making “anti-resolutions” and that the ritual of resolving was little more than setting ourselves up for failure. Others took advantage of the opening to educate us on SMART goal setting, or filled us in on the Dalai Lama’s advice for attaining contentment.  At the other end of the spectrum, I clipped out the article that recommended 2,012 resolutions for the year. This equates to fulfilling 5.5 resolutions per day, even accounting for Leap Year. I admit that I smiled when I saw the single resolution: Be Awesome.

If I wrote them down this year, my list of resolutions would probably look a lot like some of yours. Eat healthy food. Exercise more. Live my dream – which means time at the keyboard cannot wait until everything else is done and the house is clean and organized to perfection. Figure out a way to make enough money to support a writing life. Be kinder, more spiritual, more patient, more conscientious…be kind of awesome, in my own way.

Does that list set me up for failure?

Can I accomplish those resolutions in a year? Or by the beginning of September?

It’s doubtful if I can accomplish them in the same way that I could put a check mark next to “flossed teeth” or “folded laundry fresh from the dryer.” Some of them do indeed fall into my daily “to do” list – choose the salad instead of the sandwich at lunch, hit the gym, that type of thing. Others? Not so easy to quantify (and thus not qualifying as SMART goals, by the way.) How  do I quantify patience, or spirituality, or kindness? Can’t be done, can it?

But it’s almost February, and I haven’t given up on those “not smart” resolutions yet. I keep at it, putting one foot in front of the other. A year from now, I probably won’t even remember what those resolutions were….but I can live out 2012 in hopes of making each day just a bit more awesome.


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