It’s January 2016 – a new year and another chance to wipe the slate clean and press the RESET button on all those failed commitments from the previous year. Every year, I revisit my New Year’s Resolutions from the previous year, not so much to analyze how many of them I kept, because of course I kept NONE of them. Rather, I look back to chronicle how many weeks it took before I had completely bailed out on my very last resolution.
Usually that date is approximately January 17. But then there was that one exceptional year – 2004. I made it all the way through February before completely giving up on all my resolutions, goals and dreams.
In looking back over my past New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve noticed an unsettling trend. Over time, the goals that I set kept getting increasingly ambitious. Meanwhile my results have hit a bit of a plateau… then slowly slipped off the edge of that plateau…. into the deep, dark, cavernous ravine of best intentions gone miserably awry. So this year, I’ve decided to set more reasonable goals in order to feel a sense of accomplishment. Let me explain with a few examples.
The following are a few of my typical New Year’s Resolutions from previous years:
Fitness and health: Lose 40 pounds before our July vacation. Build up to running ten miles. Use my Buns of Steel Ab Rocker machine, wear my Miracle Trim Vibrator Belt two hours a day, along with my Torso Tiger Sauna Suit I bought seven years ago but never wore once.
Nutrition and eating habits: Cut out eating anything pleasurable. Eat only steamed foods that are green and taste like dirt. Drink at least twenty 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Install a urinal in my car.
Finances: Pay off all my credit card debt and car loans. Finally pay off my grad school loans from 1984. Accept once and for all that getting on a hot streak at the craps table at the Emerald Queen Casino is not an effective strategy for coming up with the funds needed for my kids’ college education.
Career: Create an action plan to finally obtain a respectable career in which I can explain to my kids what I do for a living that does not include the phrase, “I’m hoping to make a comeback.”
Personal Development: Take up a hobby. Learn a new musical instrument. How about the violin? Master Vivaldi’s Four Season’s Suite in time to perform it for my family next Christmas.
In the case of last year, I failed miserably on all of my New Year’s Resolutions. In fairness, I was able to I was able to make a small dent in paying down some of my debt – by selling my Buns of Steel Ab Rocker machine, the Vibrator Belt and the Sauna Suit at a garage sale for roughly the price of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. And while I never actually took up the violin, I made it through listening to almost half of Vivaldi’s Four Season’s Suite before I got bored and switched over to binge-watching House of Cards.
The sad reality is that when it comes to sticking with my New Year’s Resolutions and avoiding temptation, I possess the self-discipline and restraint of a female bonobo monkey in heat. So for this year, I have come up with slightly more realistic goals. I’m feeling very good about my chances:
Fitness and Health: Put away the running shoes. Sell the rest of my exercise equipment – way too hard on my aching knees. Start preparing for the Olympic Decathlon, by which I mean Track & Field VII for the X Box. Buy a La-Z-Boy recliner so I can play the game in comfort.
Nutrition: Who am I kidding with my goal of eating only healthy foods? Never going to happen. Eat more fruits and nuts, by which I mean strawberry cheesecake, peach cobbler and Butter Pecan ice cream. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that pecans are high in fiber.
Finances: With two kids still in college, it looks like I’ll have to put my goal of reducing debt on the back burner a little longer. Encourage my lower potential child to drop out of college. Extol the virtues of a career as an Uber driver. That should help trim my debt load considerably.
Career: Do whatever I can to hold onto my day job – even if that means cutting back on Facebook at work to less than three hours a day. Accept the reality that in all likelihood my dream of launching my own retail chain of fish-flavored ice cream stores for cats may never get off the ground.
Personal Development: Don’t give up just yet on my humor writing. This year, for a change, try something completely different by injecting humor into my posts on occasion. Keep on writing, no matter how many people urge me to “Stop writing! For the love of God, just stop!!!!”
If there is one thing I have learned from previous New Year’s Resolutions it’s that the only thing I have consistently achieved up till now is an unbroken chain of abysmal failure. So this year, my resolution is set the bar so low that I can walk over it… in my sleep…. with a tub of Butter Pecan ice cream under my arm.