New Year’s is fast approaching – the final horrifying holiday of the seasonal onslaught. Every single year, I think I’m going to wear a fluffy dress, go out, have an amazing time, meet a handsome prince and ride off into the sunset. Expectations often fail to match the reality, which in my case, involves staying home with Stadler – an 80 pound dog whose solution to fear of fireworks is to physically lie across my body shivering until the neighbors stop blowing things up. She gets super angry why I have to go to the bathroom, I can’t imagine her wrath were I to actually leave her at the babysitter’s to suffer through it. The Rev and G.P. have very little sympathy for wussiness.
Even prior to adopting Stadler, I never quite got the holiday right – unless you consider making out in a temporary photo booth with a somewhat reluctant Red Bull distributer the modern day handsome prince/sunset equivalent (Pro-tip: it’s not). I’m not great in crowds, and lately when I consume any alcoholic beverage exceeding half a glass of cabernet while not safe in my own home, you can find me standing on a bar stool yelling that I, “NEED AN ADULT.” I have somehow, in my decrepitude, become that girl.
They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. If that’s the case, then my road is a 16 lane mega highway with a ton of confusing cloverleaves, several drawbridges, and a ton of detours. My heart is pure, but my attention span is limited. Each year when I snip my shadow free and hold it up to see if it still fits, it always does. Even though a year seems like such a long time to accomplish fairly major goals, truly altering oneself is pretty difficult – especially if you quit trying by January 13th. It may come as a surprise to you, but it’s next to impossible to learn to play the banjo in 13 days. All I managed was to drive the dog outside and possibly anger the neighbors (although that could have been because of my house’s general lack of curb appeal – another resolution that failed the second a sticker bush stabbed me in the face). This year, I’m giving up before I get started. However, if you have the desire to be resolved, here are some good ways to still make resolutions, but also insure you’ll be able to skate by on a technicality at the end of 2017.
Guidelines for Winning Resolutions
- Populate your list with easy resolutions to offset the difficult ones. I like about a 75/25 ratio (with 75 being the easy ones). Think about it – if one of your New Year’s resolutions is, “I will take a kamikaze shot” you can whip that one out at 12:01 a.m. New Year’s Day. 1 down. Want things that will actually improve your life…okay, fine….but make most of them easy. Instead of resolving to say “save $10,000” when you only make $15,000/year how about resolving to “find all the change in the couch and put it in a jar which won’t be spent until 2018 even on chicken McNuggets.” You won’t save much, but you’ll have a both a jar full of pennies and a cleaner couch and maybe less of a McNugget gut– real progress for some of us.
- NO ROMANCE RESOLUTIONS. The basic rule of thumb here is not to resolve things you can’t control. If you can agree that perhaps it would be foolish to pin your success or failure for the year on whether or not you were able to control the orbits of comets with your magic, then you essentially have to agree that you can’t control whether or not you’re going to find the person for you this year. If you want a relationship, you can resolve to make yourself more available, but if you decide that hell or high water you’re getting some poor sucker to move in with you, the probability is that you’re just going to wind up settling for someone who isn’t quite right. Face it, those are stinky socks that you don’t want to be picking up.
- Remember the problem of process. One of the most frustrating things for me in this life is that everything is such a stupid process. You have to lay foundations before you can build houses, and the better the foundation, the sturdier the house. When we think it would be cool to learn a new skill (cough *how to play banjo/use tape), we envision the result (annoying an entire bar by yodeling exclusively Neutral Milk Hotel songs while accompanying myself on a banjo/being able to successfully tape anything together without taping self to thing), but we tend to forget about the hours and hours of practice that is required to become even marginally banjo competent, and we also tend to forget our general lack of coordination and tendencies toward both dyslexia and distraction. It is possible for me to learn to play banjo, in the same way that it is strictly possible that a honey badger is right now hatching a complicated, but technically accurate, plan to launch himself into space and land on the moon. Possible and probable are entirely different sets of odds. Moral: remember the work when you’re resolving to get to the result.
- When in doubt: tacos. It is always wise to build emergency tacos into the original plan. That way, you get tacos. I really hope you understand…because tacos.
- Keep it vague. Don’t assign numeric values to anything. “I want to lose some weight” or “I will exercise more” is much easier to achieve than “I want to lose 20lbs,” or “I will exercise five days a week.” That way, when it’s the end of 2017, the super fancy scale you purchased in January will come in handy. It will be able to tell you all about that .001 of a pound you lost – which means, by the way, that YOU WIN RESOLUTIONS.
Happy New Year one and all. I hope 2017 is a kinder year than the tire fire that was 2016. Be safe. Find your happiness. And don’t call me if you need an adult. I’m woefully unqualified.