New Year’s resolutions have a sweet and sour reputation. Some argue for them, some against.
I am proud to say I have kept exactly one New Year’s resolution. Check that against your own record and you’ll probably agree this gives me bona fides (that’s Latin for bona fides) in the resolution debate.
I acknowledge my 1-0-0 record isn’t as compelling as one might hope. But I have sustained my resolution for decades. And in that spirit, I offer some Do’s and Don’ts.
* Don’t make a resolution that depends on others changing their ways. Resolutions should be bite-sized and ingestible. Announcing, “I resolve to convince my spouse that…” is an unpaved road to a silent and frosty January. And not in a good way.
* Don’t make more than one resolution. Trying to remember, let alone keep, one of these things is exhausting.
* Don’t choose something you can’t do. If you’ve never climbed a steep hill without a chocolate doughnut break along the way then don’t resolve to scale Mount Everest.
* Don’t resolve to dream the dreams, even the coolest and most commendable dreams, of others.
* Don’t make resolutions that include the words ‘broccoli’ or ‘cauliflower.’
* And the most important Don’t of all – don’t make your resolution on New Year’s Eve. You’re almost certain to say something less than brilliant. No offence.
And the top five resolution Do’s?
* Do include a ‘Best Before’ date. Unlike that package of Twinkies you discovered in the back of the cupboard, few of us are capable of indefinitely ‘becoming a better person’ (whatever that might mean).
* Do make a resolution you can tell others without blushing. There are children in the room.
* Do choose something you genuinely want to tackle. ‘I should’ and ‘I resolve’ do not play nice in the sandbox.
* For a resolution with legs and a brain and a heart, do write it down. No February misremembering that way.
Finally, do personalize this advice as an amuse-bouche (that’s French for hors d’oeuvre) for your own particular situation.
The way you might personalize excuses to your own dentist about flossing.
The one resolution I have managed to keep was switching my coffee from double-double to black-no-sugar in one swell foop. Since then, I have been better at excuses than resolutions. Much better.
Of course, what most of us really want is to continue doing exactly what we’ve been doing all along — minus the consequences.
So let’s raise our coffee cups – yours perhaps with cream and sugar — and offer a toast to having our cake and eating it too.
And a Happy New Year’s to all.
Bob Boulton is a Sarnia writer and the creator of a blog for new and renewing writers, bobswritefromthestart.blogspot.com