Resolutions? No, thank you

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

If you do, have you broken them yet? Probably so. I would guess that the average life span of a resolution is rarely more than a week. Some self-disciplined souls may hold out longer. I imagine there are even some of you who keep a resolution forever once it has been made. I'd like to know just how you do that.

For me to completely change a lifestyle habit through resolution would be next to impossible. Even if I resolved to drink a Rolling Rock every day for a month (not all that unusual for me), I wouldn't do it. My moods and whims change far too frequently for that. Plus I must admit, I just plain forget. It's not so very easy to remember to follow the old, familiar rules of daily life and relationships. New ones are awfully hard!

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It's been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Don't you suspect that some of those paving blocks are resolutions made on January 1st? And why is it that we feel obliged to make new plans and promises simply because a new calendar year has begun? Our lives are the same. We for the most part follow the same routine of daily life on January 2nd as we did on December 31st. Yet we are prompted to believe that we can by some lunar magic become better friends, better citizens and better caretakers of our bodies the minute we hang up that new calendar here in this land of Beginning Again.

I promise you, it would take more than a new freebie from the drug store or dry cleaner to make me change anything.

Let's look at cleaning up our language for instance. It sounds like a noble idea. It should be easy. Right? The rub comes the first time a toe finds a dresser leg in the dark, or the bottom falls out of the trash bag before you're off the carpet, or the little old lady driving ahead of you does not seem to care that you are already twenty minutes late for work. That's sure to cause the (fill in your favorite expletive) resolution to be broken.

And how about those New Year's diets? You vow to lose 15pounds by Valentine's Day. Sounds pretty easy. You've had it with rich foods in huge quantity all through the holidays. Dieting will be a snap in January and February. Do you get hungry just thinking about it? Tell the truth. Once the diet begins, it doesn't take long before the substitution game begins. You know that game. It's the one that goes like thisI really want a burger and fries. If I have a burger and fries at lunch, I'll skip dinner. But we all know it is not healthy to skip meals. So I'd better eat tonight for the sake of good health. Mind you, I don't really want to. But what if my blood sugar drops too low? That can't be good. So yes, I must have dinner. And if I've already messed up today by having a burger and fries (super size that, please) and having dinner too, then what the heck, I may as well have ice cream and start dieting again tomorrow. Did I say "heck" or my favorite word? Did another resolution just go down the drain? All I can say about the food-related resolutions is, "When ifs and buts become candy and nuts, we'll be able to keep our resolutions".

There are many resolutions made on far higher planes, those of greater humanity, benevolence, empathy and contribution. They are the ones that can change not only the individual, but also the world at large. They are the ones worth making and keeping. Yes, it is very important to make personal changes for better physical, mental and spiritual health. It, I feel, is one's duty to mankind and it's creator. But let's not get so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget the betterment of worldwide civilization. It seems an impossible task to make positive global changes. What can one person do that will impact the entire world? For most of us the answer is nothing. But if we improve one small part of our world in some way, the domino effect can start. How do we do that? With our God-given talent, whatever it is. Each of us is unique. Each of us has something to offer the world that only we possess. Finding what we have to give is our task. It should be our resolution. Once it is found, the giving is easy. And so, maybe resolutions are not so important, but resolve is vital.