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Joseph: Resolutions

Posted: January 7, 2016 6:02 p.m.
Updated: January 8, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Several days prior to the New Year, a friend asked me what resolutions I had set for myself. I thought, “Did she say ‘resolutions’ or perhaps I didn’t hear her correctly?” She definitely said “resolutions,” yet I had none to reply with. I didn’t have one measly surrender to give her. As a matter of fact, I didn’t declare any New Year’s resolutions last year, either. In truth, it has been at the least several years since I have proclaimed to the world the self-denials I would inflict upon myself in that given New Year. My attention to how I would change myself for the greater good had simply slipped my mind.

Riddled with guilt over the absence of any resolutions, I began to wonder who’s to blame for inventing them and do they have a mailing address where we can send our hostile comments. It appears we’d have to go back around 4,000 years to blame (or thank) the Babylonians for resolutions. The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year, which began in mid-March, to return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Unlike us today, the people of Mesopotamia had a greater motivation to stick to their resolutions. Keeping their word would result in their god’s grace bestowed on them throughout the course of the following 12 months. Believing what we do on the first day of the new year will have an effect on us for the rest of the year is how we got to this mess to begin with. 

I must say I do like the part about starting a resolution in mid-March. This would give us a two-month buffer zone, if you will, to recover from the holiday and football seasons. Of course, by “recover” I mean catching up on sleep. (What else could it mean?) Beginning our self-denials in March would be just fine with me. 

But if you have set your New Year’s goals high and are looking to beat the high odds of defeat, here is some advice: Consider the March 15 date. Or consider Dec. 1 as a head start. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Think it through. Allow yourself more than one restart. Don’t give up beer or wine; those are necessary comrades in successfully achieving a resolution. Chocolate is a fruit so don’t give up fruit. Remember, carbs keep you warm in the winter. Your garage can make a good gym. A few cheats is OK. If you’re worried about your success, don’t reveal the resolution to anyone even your spouse. 

Resolving not to make a resolution for 2016 is actually considered a resolution. But if you must make it more difficult for yourself, here are a few you may want to try: Sleep more. Have more fun. Stop procrastinating. Try something new. Read more. Volunteer. Stop beating yourself up. Back up your data. Get organized. Show up on time. Conquer your fears. Be informed. Share with others. Drive slower. Run faster. Go to bed earlier. Wake up later. Stop smoking. Get a dog. Walk around the block. Go to the grocery store once a week. Play more. Drink more water ... or beer or wine. Be kinder. Act like a child. Spend more time outside. Change your passwords. Love more. Break a bad habit. Laugh harder.

Just do it. But remember you will get another chance in 365 days. Happy New Year!

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