Everyone looks forward to a new year. In golf terms, it's our annual collective mulligan. It's a do over. That's why New Year's Eve is such a big deal. We aren't just bidding farewell to the past year; in a sense we are also bidding farewell to our past selves. Should old acquaintance be forgot? Darn right they should. So in an attempt to seek absolution from our past, we craft resolutions for our future - lists of things we hope to accomplish, ways we plan to change, and even old habits we intend to break. But good intentions in January often become broken promises come May. So, I've decided to abandon the traditional pledges for a more practical approach. I am calling it my New Year's evolution.
It started when I asked our three boys if they had any resolutions for the new year. Our fifteen-year-old quickly retorted that resolutions were ridiculous. "What's the point of making a resolution to do something? If you know you should do something, then you should just do it, not promise to do it later." I couldn't agree more. As Yoda once said, "Do or do not. There is no try."
For years I have been approaching the start of every year with a sense of dread and resentment from this customary obligation to pledge that I curtail certain lifestyle choices or change certain behaviors, as if committing to being a different kind of person will make be a better one. But, the older I get the wiser I am about my own expectations and limitations. I have finally resigned myself to the fact that I will not miraculously become a morning person who loves to work out, I will not procrastinate any less or go to sleep any earlier, and I will not suddenly realize a deep-seated desire to do the dishes or fold laundry just because I make a resolution to do so.
So, this year, I am pulling a Costanza. Specifically, I am taking inspiration from the episode of Seinfeld when George Costanza decides that every decision he has ever made has been wrong, and that his life is the exact opposite of what it should be. Then Jerry convinces him that "if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right."
Instead of setting myself up for a predictable pattern of defaults, defuncts, and disappointments, I've decided to ensure long-term success by resolving to only make resolutions I can realistically keep. Since I am a goal-oriented person, I figure I should start orienting my goals to the person I am and not the person I likely will never be.
In that vain, here are a few of my resolutions for the coming year:
• I will binge watch shows on Netflix and eat ice cream in bed with my husband as often as possible.
• I will stalk our children and their friends on social media, and will stop following people who clearly lack both social and media skills.
• I will refrain from purchasing new workout DVDs, joining any CrossFit gyms, or trying anything that ends with the word "barre," but will remain committed to my all-women tennis clinic since it is still cheaper than therapy.
• I will make home-cooked meals for my family when inspired by those two-minute food videos posted on Facebook, and will close my kitchen during the months of June, July, and August.
• I will nag our boys to make their beds, brush their teeth, put on deodorant, and pick up their clothes on a daily basis, and will watch them do push ups every time they get punished for not doing these things.
• I will buy whatever black items I deem essential for my wardrobe, and will avoid bathing suit shopping unless the suits I currently own are somehow destroyed in a flood, fire, or natural disaster.
Should old acquaintance really be forgot? Maybe not. But old resolutions should. Which reminds me, I'm starting a new season of The West Wing tonight as soon as my husband brings up our ice cream. I just hope he finishes folding the laundry soon.