Happy New Year! Hey, give me a break I’m only three days late. Last year I didn’t write a New Year’s post until January 15th. Give me another year and I’ll have clued in to the fact that New Year’s comes every year at the exact same time and I could actually write pre-emptively for the big day. I can’t imagine millions of hungover revelers wishing to do anything more on New Year’s Day than read a freshly published diatribe from yours truly. Hair of the Schmidt, as the saying goes.
As another arbitrary date demarks a milestone for life on this planet, I’ve once again found myself flush with enthusiasm for personal growth and rectification. No, despite my word choice, this has nothing to do with my prostate, unpleasantly aging though it is. I’m talking, of course, about resolutions, those well-intended but so often failed goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of each new year in hopes that this will finally be the year that we overcome our natural propensity for the path of least resistance and will ourselves to achieve the greatness we daydream about while devouring fistfuls of Doritos with hands freshly removed from scratching our groins in front of televisions sets.
But to forget even making New Year’s resolutions…
So with fingers caked over with delicious Cool Ranch chemical detritus, I have dutifully written a list of personal promises I intend to fulfill in the year 2016. Unlike last year, however, I solemnly swear to, at the very least, remember making these ones. Failing to accomplish New Year’s resolutions is a time honoured feat for most of us, but to outright forget even making resolutions, which I did in 2015, veers wildly from the disappointing to the humiliating.
In retrospect, my forgetting and subsequent failing to bear out any of my 2015 resolutions, aside from exposing my pathetic lack of willpower, can be blamed, in my estimation, on ambiguity. Resolutions are difficult enough to fulfill, but being wishy-washy about them, with no target date or detailed commitment, is as sure a recipe for failure as whatever the Cleveland Browns do next. My resolutions for 2015 had all the wishy-washiness of a campaign promise and, not surprisingly, they ended up with the same success rate as a campaign promise.
In hopes of addressing my frustrating 2015 failure and thus giving myself the very best chance of succeeding in 2016, I have written a brand new set of resolutions with precise goals and deadlines. They will test my fortitude but also reward me greatly should I succeed. And I’m hoping such rigour will encourage me to pursue them rather than forget them. I’ve started ingesting Omega 3, though, just in case. Like literally just now at the tasty evening meal I just finished eating. Apparently this stuff helps the ticker and, more importantly, the thinker. All in a bland, suppository sized pill that is far more appetizing than eating significantly greater quantities of fish.
Annual failure is not reason enough to quit…
My 2016 resolutions harken to their 2015 lineage. Those 2015 resolutions were vague and ultimately forgotten, but they were valiant in what I hoped to accomplish. Bettering my health, my life, my engagement, and my relationships are all worthy endeavours. Failing to achieve them, even as my years edge into the mid-forties, is by no means reason enough to abandon them. Perhaps I’m but a late bloomer in this game of existence?
For what it’s worth, I feel different about these pledges, as though I’m already taking them more seriously, more personally. Perhaps it’s the public forum in which I’m announcing them that has instilled them with greater potency? Or maybe I’m just tired of letting myself down and am finally on the verge of maturing enough to take responsibility for my present and my future.
I’ll be honest, the last third of 2015 was tough for me. My mindset took a tumble into the dark and left me reeling as we headed into winter, despite a lot of amazing things happening in 2015, including our epic camping trip to Ontario which saw the kids and I away from our home for six plus week. I also reached a personal milestone in my life as a stay-at-home dad this September when the kids both went to school full days for the first time ever, an event I ironically called the greatest day in my life. I expected wondrous things for the latter part of last year, and had been for many years previous, but reality proved quite deflating.
“I am not the man you think I am, nor am I the man I wish I were.”
Then as I was writing my annual Christmas letter, I penned a phrase that seemed to encapsulate all I was feeling and thinking through the fall. “I am not the man you think I am, nor am I the man I wish I were.” It’s a strikingly true statement and as it marinated in my mind I was left with one undeniable realization. I have spent most of a lifetime lamenting this truth and yet never have I successfully altered its veracity. And while I cannot change what others might think of me, I and only I can change what I think of me. Yes, I can accept myself for who I am but I, and only I, can make me who the man I wish I were. I should and will strive to do both. Well at least until I forget all about this confessional because the damned fish pills didn’t work.
So without further ado, and self-analytical rambling for that matter, here are my new and improved New Year’s Resolutions for the year 2016.
1a I will write a minimum of 1000 words every day, weekends, holidays, and sick days included.
1b I will write and submit a short story to a literary magazine by October 31st.
2 I will not eat a single morsel of chocolate until my birthday on March 1st.
3 I will cut our monthly grocery budget in half before year’s end.
4 I will dedicate one full, uninterrupted hour each day to playing with my kids.
5 I will refuse to look at Facebook between the hours of 9:00 am and 6:00 pm.
6 I will lose 20 pounds by July 1st.
I swear, once you get rolling on making resolutions you could go on forever. How many imperfections have I, let me count the ways. I think six (technically seven if you count the two parter as individual resolutions) is a fair number. Some of these are going to be extremely difficult for me to accomplish; hello chocolate! Besides, I can still make strides in other areas of my life without documenting them all here. The last thing I want to do is overload myself with goals and end up failing by trying to fix everything at once. You can’t rebuild a classic muscle car all at once and this, dear friends, is a full frame up restoration project.
In the coming days I’ll be elaborating on each resolution. Each will get its own blog post expounding on why I chose it, what it means to me, and why it will be difficult to achieve. This may strike you as overkill but it plays an important role in my realizing resolution #1.