Your New Year’s Resolution, by Rich Paschall
Have you given up on it yet?
You know what I mean, that New Year’s Resolution you felt you had to make. It may have seemed like a good idea in December. You knew you were going to eat too much and drink too much from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. You knew there would be cookies and cakes at work, at home, and at Aunt Hilda’s house. You did not want to go to Aunt Hilda’s house, of course, but you were willing to eat her cookies and whatever that greenish Jello stuff was that she puts out every year.
There were candy dishes everywhere too! You swear that some of your friends and relatives only bring out the candy dishes when the holiday season comes. And the Holiday season can be long, very long. That means there is plenty of opportunity to eat up the candy from the time the half-price Halloween candy runs out to when the after-Christmas candy sales are over. “Fie, you devil dogs, who dole out the candy as if it was health food,” you may exclaim. These candy tempters lurk around everyone’s desk at work and around the coffee table at those awful Christmas parties. The unfortunate ones also have co-workers who are actually “candy pushers,” getting you to buy the stuff so little Johnny can go to day camp or basketball camp or Camp something.
With Aunt Mary, Aunt Sherry, and Aunt Scary conspiring against your waistline, you just know you should resolve to do something healthy when the attack of the gingerbread men has ended. You look forward to January 1 with the resolve to eat well, exercise, and give up whatever vices are dragging you down. When the New Year came it was going to be all about you, and not about extra helpings of Aunt Bertie’s Sweet Potato Casserole. You know, it’s the one with the Praline topping you can not get enough of. “Besides, aren’t sweet potatoes good for you?” the conspirators may ask.
If all that spinach dip, taco dip, and cheese dip don’t drive you to a resolution, perhaps all that alcohol will. In addition to whatever your favorite beverage may be, there’s eggnog and glogg (or gluhwein, depending on your relative’s ethnic background), white wine, red wine, pink wine, and champagne. There are specialty concoctions someone found in a recipe book or online. If you make it to the Wild West Sports Bar or some similar place, someone will probably buy you a shot of something you would never order for yourself.
If you are in the hangover den on New Year’s Day, you would certainly have resolutions on your mind. Some of those may start with “please god” and end with “never again.” Those are the types of resolutions that fall by the wayside first. You may be deadly serious when you make the pledges on January 1, but you are perfectly willing to forget about them on the following weekend.
So what was it? Were you going to lose weight? Many people adopt this promise and some even join weight loss groups to help them out. They may get inspirational speeches and coaching. They may order health food from the organization, spending a lot more than if they went to the health food store and bought it themselves. Soon some chocolate mousse will cross your path, calling out your name and you will cave into the thing you never meant to give up anyway. I knew a woman who spent a lot of money on healthy food and healthy shakes from a club. They were so unsatisfying that she also spent a lot of money on junk food “snacks” to get her through to the next “healthy” meal.
If you were going to give up alcohol for January or until St. Patrick’s day or some other lofty goal, you may soon find the birthday party, sporting event (College Football Playoffs? Super Bowl?), or post-season work party to cancel that idea right out of your brain. If you were encouraged to make such a resolution based on how you felt when you finally dragged yourself from the bed to the sofa on January 1, then it will probably go away soon anyway. Those resolutions are made in the heat of the battle and forgotten when the fight is over.
Since all that partying does not qualify as exercise, you may have decided you need to work out. Trust me, if you were not doing much physical activity prior to January 1, the turn of the calendar may not be enough of a push to get into shape. Many work too hard at it in the first week, causing all those unused muscles to ache. That in turn leads you to the feeling that you must lay your poor body down. If your tough workout leads you to a night out because you “deserve it” after all your hard work at the health club, you may be on the road to blowing two resolutions at once.
So, are they history yet? After all, it is three weeks since New Year’s Day, and a lot of life has gotten in the way to pull you off course. If your resolution was to stop some vice like smoking, gambling, watching porn, or something I would rather not know about, it is like the other resolutions. You did not need a specific calendar date to give them up and you will not succeed unless you are firmly resolved.