Why wait for New Year#8217;s to make changes?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 29, 2007

Well, 2007 has just about gone the way of the Dodo Bird and become nothing more than a memory.

But first, many people will participate in that time-honored tradition of making New Year’s excuses — uh — I mean New Year’s resolutions.

Americans celebrate lots of holidays in unusual ways but most are harmless, even if they are somewhat silly.

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For St. Patrick’s Day, some communities dye their rivers — or beer — green. On Easter, we idolize a rabbit that has an obsessive-compulsive fascination with eggs. Thanksgiving has become synonymous with eating a bird. I am sure those gobblers aren’t too thankful at all.

But, for me, New Year’s Eve takes the proverbial cake when it comes to asinine ways to celebrate.

Sure, getting together with friends and families to commemorate the passing of the old and the beginning of something new makes sense enough and can be a great time. It is the resolution part that leaves me confused.

What purpose does making a promise to yourself do when — more often than not — you know that it simply will be forgotten in a few weeks?

New Year’s resolutions are a symbol of a big problem with our society: They delay responsibility and make light of things that are important.

If something is important and should be done, why wait for some arbitrary date?

Will it be any easier to quit smoking after Jan. 1 than it would be to just put out the butts today? That is one that I keep telling my chain-smoking father but it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

If you have never been able to get motivated to hit that treadmill that keeps collecting dust in your basement why will a new digit at the end of the year make a difference?

Always a popular one, many people vow to spend more time with their families and loved ones. Why wait! That should be a resolution 365 days out of the year.

Making positive changes in your life is never easy and it is understandable that people sometimes look for extra motivation. Hopefully, they can search inside themselves to find the self-motivation to make changes.

After all, dropping bad habits and changing your lifestyle is more about taking responsibility for your own actions and having the willpower, tenacity and self-confidence to hold yourself accountable.

Choosing a date tied to the New Year makes it too easy to waffle come February, June or some other month down the road.

I would challenge every person thinking of making a New Year’s resolution to do some soul searching to determine what he or she would change about himself or herself. Then, just do it. Not on Jan. 1. Do it right now!

Then treat every day like Dec. 31. Think about that resolution each night when you go to bed.

Changing your life won’t be easy and it certainly won’t happen by making a commitment one night out of the year.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.