Let the Resolutions Begin

Posted: January 9, 2013 in Uncategorized
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By Paul Gaszak, English Faculty

 When I was growing up, it was a weekly tradition to hear my dad make the same weekend proclamation: “Starting Monday, I’m going on a diet!” It was always Monday. Never “tomorrow” or “after this meal” or “as of right now!” The diet always started Monday. And, inevitably, the diet never actually started Monday.

 I can’t criticize him, though, for a few reasons. First, because when he finally decided to lose weight, he did so with seemingly no effort and without exercising more or eating differently. Either he has a superhuman metabolism, a tapeworm, or a pact with the Devil.

 Secondly, I can’t criticize, because most of us fall prey to the same thinking. We want our fresh start to correspond neatly with the fresh start to some period of time, like a week, or as many people are doing right now, a year.

 ImageNew Year’s  Resolutions are largely laughable, as we all know. They are mostly clichéd (“I want to lose weight!”) and  quickly discarded. This article from Forbes points out some of the most common – and broken – resolutions.

 I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions, but I sort of did this year. With less than two hours left to go in 2012, I wrote myself a list of life changes/improvements to make it the next 365 days. The list was 11 items long, with none being particularly easy. I thought about tacking on something easy like “Get my car’s oil changed” but I’ve already failed to do that for over 20,000 miles at this point, so even that isn’t a gimme.

 One of the problems with resolutions is that they often don’t carry any immediate consequences. If the resolution, for example, is to lose weight and a person doesn’t start immediately, there is always next week, next month, next year.

 So, to motivate myself, I decided to impose a consequence. If I do not accomplish all 11 items by December 31, 2013, I will purchase a little rowboat and some rations, and push myself out into Lake Michigan until I find either enlightenment or hypothermia.

 (I reserve the right to balk at that punishment as the date draws nearer.)

 I do love the spirit of resolutions, though. When people make resolutions, they’re always (or usually?) positive, and it’s always nice to hear that people are striving to make themselves and the world around them better. We could probably use an injection of that spirit far more often than just once a year…especially a week or two into the new year when we are already slacking on our resolutions.


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