Key to successful resolutions lies in not lying to yourself

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Year’s Eve - that special time of the year when many of us fool ourselves and smile the whole time - is almost here.

Each year, thousands and thousands of people go out on a limb and promise to better themselves by living up to outlandish resolutions they know do not have a snowball’s chance of lasting. I have heard some doozies over the years.

Sometimes the vows start out simple enough — like getting in shape or exercising. While these pledges, in and of themselves, aren’t too bad, the big problem is that if you have never done these things before, it is unlikely that you will start now.

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Other things I have heard people resolve cross well over into the bizarre. One of the weirdest I ever heard was someone planning to not wear the same pair of shoes twice that year. Not sure how that turned out but I bet it helped some shoe manufacturers fulfill their resolutions to make more money.

See, the big problem with the whole resolution concept is that we often choose things that just aren’t going to happen and then we fall well short of our goals. Some people’s self-esteem can really take a hit in January.

But I have a solution I plan to try out this year that is sure to be a big success. Resolutions all depend on how we view them. I think we have all been taking the wrong approach.

This year, I have three resolutions: I plan to eat whatever I want, regardless of nutritional value. I vow to stop exercising altogether. Lastly, I plan to start smoking. Yeah, I know I sure set the bar pretty high.

OK, let me explain my logic here. I have created a win-win situation for myself and if I don’t live up to these resolutions I can look at the bright side.

My resolve to eat whatever I want doesn’t have a downside. If I keep the resolution then all those French fries and greasy burgers go down the hatch. If not, then I am doing myself a favor. My body — and likely my wife — is sure to be happy if I foul that resolution up.

By planning to toss all exercising to the curb, I created a far more achievable benchmark than exercising every day. And if I do start pumping iron, the improvement will quickly wash away any sense of guilt over breaking the resolution.

As for vowing to light up, this may be the best one yet. I may attempt to keep it but will likely start hacking and choking. A quick read of the packaging will remind me that smoking is hazardous to my health. How could I beat myself up for nixing that plan?

So there you go — a three-step process to successful resolutions. Mine probably won’t work for you but I will stand by the belief that the theory is sound. But just like those cigarettes, you are using at your own risk.

I hope you have a Happy New Year and find the resolution that allows 2006 to be a great year for you.

Michael Caldwell is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached by calling (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail to