I’m publishing a post about New Year’s resolutions on January 15th which in its own way sums up everything you need to know about me and resolutions. This is not to say I dislike resolutions. I’m just not very good at following through on resolutions.
I resolve to have more resolve
I’m actually quite fond of the concept of New Year’s resolutions. January is such a dull, monotonous month after the frantic, emotional December but it does come with a sense of renewal and starting over so why not set some goals for the coming year.
I just have such great difficulty committing to any meaningful resolution because I know I am so ill-equipped to achieve them. I have such little willpower. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions so much as I make New Year’s procrastinations.
The resolution I should really make is to have more resolve. Yes! In 2015 I resolve to have more resolve. But how will I know if I’ve accomplished this resolution without making other resolutions to resolve thereby establishing that I have indeed shown more resolve?
Which brings me back to the foolish endeavour of establishing well-meaning but ultimately destined to fail resolutions for the upcoming year, two weeks of which have already passed unchanged in regards to my behaviour.
See? My resolve is faltering already and it’s only been two sentences since I wrote that resolution. In the words of the immortal Don Music, “Oh, I’ll never do it. Never!”
What I need is my own Kermit. An unwitting partner and sometimes muse to inspire persistence when the dawdles occupy my psyche. You can be my Kermit. My green guardian angel. My amphibious ambition advocate. You will choose my resolutions and see them through to, umm, resolution.
So without further ado, here is a selection of resolution candidates along with what I feel to be pertinent potential pitfalls for each. Choose one, choose all or choose your own but above all, choose wisely. My loafing skills are legendary; you will be tested.
I will write more
A quick look at my blog posting history quickly exposes my inadequacies. Over and over I read about regular, reliable publishing of new material being a key to a successful blog. I would like very much to have a successful blog or even a writing career. That obviously requires me writing a lot more than I currently do. It also requires me to procrastinate less and procrastination is one of the few things I truly excel at. Is it really such a great idea to quit something I’m good at? If the goal of New Year’s resolutions is to become a better person then ridding myself of a genuine skill seems counter-productive.
I will eat less chocolate
I could definitely afford to eat less chocolate. Like a LOT less. I even thought about declaring “I’m giving up chocolate for an entire year” as a great blog gimmick to drive traffic. I could make daily posts about my rejection of chocolate and even start creating a stash of chocolate treats for each craving I resist throughout the year. Then, on the one year anniversary of going chocolate free I’d have the mother of all chocolate binges as a reward. That would make for one sweet viral YouTube video.
But chocolate is so good and I’m so good at eating it. Plus my ability to perform chocolate eating in duration or regularity hasn’t diminished with age at all unlike, say, having sex. So I might as well resolve to give up sex. But who in their right mind would give up that? Besides, I have a wife to think about. Resolutions should be personal goals not things that ruin life for my loved ones.
I will give up alcohol
Now, unlike eating chocolate, my ability to drink alcohol has most definitely deteriorated with age. My 18 year old self may find that both sad and embarrassing but my 42 year old father of 2, chronic illness dabbling, lethargic about existence self is totally okay with it. I only drink socially and social occasions are not exactly clogging my day timer. This should be an achievable goal for me.
That being said, on those rare social occasions I do partake in, I have a hard time not drinking booze while those around me are doing so. I have been so thoroughly brainwashed by the familial tradition of this type of drinking that it’s impossible for me to resist. This is probably a key indicator of addiction. On the other hand, I don’t drink after mowing the lawn or after work or after sex or after sex at work or after sex on the lawn or while watching sports or when I’m awake. So I already drink far less than the average male and that’s a pretty admirable achievement in itself. Why mess with a good thing by trying to make it even better?
I will be a better dad
Being a stay-at-home dad (or SAHD for the internet hipsters) by the very nature of its uniqueness, gives me the facade of being a great dad. People tend to assume that if a man is going to quit work to raise the kids he must be such an awesome dad. Reality is a little greyer than that. Not saying I’m a horrible dad, no, but there certainly is room for some improvement.
But I’ve already set a precedent of mediocrity that my children have adapted to and accepted. To suddenly shake that up would potentially have unintended detrimental consequences. If I suddenly become a super dad, an amazing Big Brother buddy and father, why they’ll think something is up. They might assume I’m dying or something equally sorrowful for them. It really is best to just stay the course, bland though it may be. Again, a goal must make me better while not unduly harming my loved ones. Unknown unknowns must not be underestimated.
I will lose weight
I haven’t been the poster child for responsible, healthy eating lately. And by lately I mean since I stopped drinking formula for sustenance. The topic of weight loss is thus a contentious issue around our household because I have been blessed with a rather remarkable metabolism. It allows me to stay relatively thin without curtailing the problematic binging (see chocolate above).
Now, I do pretty well. I don’t drink very much and don’t eat fast food regularly. The chocolate milk and Jos Louis for breakfast that was a staple of high school has not been part of my diet for a couple decades now. Cheez Whiz and Chef Boyardee have long since become relics of a gastronomically sordid past. We try hard to eat balanced, healthy home cooked meals and by and large we succeed. But I still eat too much, too quickly and self medicate with chocolate. It’s made me a little squishy in the middle.
Outside of outright laziness and lack of resolve, this is an achievable goal, thank you Captain Metabolism. Despite some legitimate caution required due to my past Sarcoidosis, a responsible, methodical effort to restrain my caloric intake and increase my caloric burn would reduce my squish quotient. I’m no Chris Hemsworth in waiting regardless of how much that might excite my wife. Or me, for that matter; my narcissistic side wouldn’t mind gazing at such a figure reflecting in my full length bedroom mirror (that I’d need to buy).
Who am I kidding? A body like Chris’ deserves to be shared with as many fans as physically possible, not just my wife. I’m just too fond of my wife to do that to her and I sense that she is not the sharing type. I guess my noble monogamy and loyalty to my vows all but forces me to be a little frumpy.
I will learn to play an instrument
This is just not going to happen if nearly thirty years of precedent can be considered a rule. In my mid teens I asked for and received a small harmonica for Christmas. I figured this would be a cool thing to learn to play, was nice and compact, and would quickly make me the most desirable male around the campfire. I’d be even cooler than those clichéd acoustic guitar players. I still have this harmonica. I still can only blow air through it and suck air back into it making a loud, but non-melodic racket.
I would like to play guitar. I have a guitar. I would like to play piano. I have a keyboard. I have a musical background. I can read music. I even played cello into elementary school for three years. I just can’t seem to progress to a point of focused practice that leads to competent musicianship on any instrument. My heart says “yes” but my mind says “if I can’t play songs immediately then there’s no point trying”.
My brain makes a compelling argument. The ladies aren’t fawning over some guy playing rudimentary scales as the wood crackles and the embers glow. It’s virtuoso or noplayatallso.
Well my dear Kermit collective, there you have it. Six respectable, self-bettering resolutions and I’ve logically and skillfully shot them all to hell. I submit to your collective wisdom for guidance. In the meantime, I suppose I’ll just resolve to better my resolve.