“Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?”
Yes. Next question.
I did once lose weight over the course of a year, having actually resolved to do so. ‘Once’ being the operative word. Although I trust you will not think me immodest if I casually let slip that last year I didn’t gain any weight. Thank you very much.
While I used to make New Year resolutions as a deliberate policy, I haven’t for some time now. They tended always to be the same so, apart from the one triumph alluded to above, the very fact that I was repeating the exercise meant that I’d failed in the previous year. It took me a while to realize that you can’t have failed if you haven’t even tried.
As research for this post – it’s not just thrown together, you know, despite all appearances to the contrary – I utilized a well-known search engine (which I shall not name, on the basis that Larry Page has got enough money already. Other search engines are available.) to find out what are the most common resolutions. They are, as you can imagine, pretty predictable and I’d guess that there is a pool of no more than twenty from which to draw up a typical Top Ten.
For the purposes of this blog, I’ve taken the most po-faced, but still typical, list I could find. You will probably not be surprised to hear that it is on the web-site of the US government. Proudly telling everyone everywhere what they ought to be doing.
Here it is, with my own observations. I think it will be pretty clear why I no longer bother.
- Lose weight: top of every list apparently, but see above.
- Volunteer to help others: listen, pal, I was in the army cadets at school. Life lesson one was never volunteer for anything.
- Quit smoking: well, I don’t anyway.
- Get a better education: bit late, don’t you think?
- Save money: what for? I have all I need. Including savings.
- Get fit: fair enough, I suppose.
- Eat healthy food: I do. Mostly. Shortbread is good for you, right?
- Manage stress: as the comedian Steven Wright said, ‘I don’t suffer from stress….but I am a carrier.’
- Manage debt: thankfully, I don’t have any debts, apart from the non-monetary ones that I could never repay.
- Take a trip: er, could you rephrase that?
See, I told you it was po-faced.
And, really, there’s not much in there for me. But that isn’t the main reason that I don’t make New Year resolutions any more.
It might all be perfectly sensible and well-meaning, albeit a little too earnest, but resolutions are, in effect, nothing more than self-denying ordinances.
And at my age I’m frankly more inclined to a bit of Carpe diem.
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