Keeping a resolution for the New Year is a lot like the cat chasing his tail. Much as he tries, he cannot quite catch up with it.
I’ve been making resolutions on and off for much of my lifetime. And where has it gotten me? In one “year” and out the other.
A new year often means a new start for many. For me, it’s just another promise I make to myself that never gets honored or fulfilled.
I have all good intentions, mind you. Might work for a week or two, maybe even a month if I get real determined, but never the whole year through.
Like the time I was really hooked on shedding a few pounds. No sweets. Don’t eat between meals. Smaller portions. Stay away from the carbs. Keep the wine to one glass before dinner and not two.
Two weeks into my ritual and I started slipping. The second glass of wine tasted even better than the first, and how could I refrain from my own anniversary banquet? You’re paying for it so might as well get your money’s worth.
Back in my pipe-smoking days, I decided to finally ditch the habit. Same outcome as before. A month or two later, out came the corn cob. It wasn’t until my cardiologist read me the riot act after a heart procedure that I complied.
“If you want to see your grandchildren grow up, then ditch the pipe,” he warned. “This time it was a couple stents. Next time it could be a heart attack.”
He didn’t have to tell me a second time. Had I not heeded his advice, the triple by-pass I had three years later could have been a swan song. It’s been 10 years and I’ve been pipe free. But all those instances when a resolution could have saved me the misery, I never listened to my instincts.
One year I vowed to patronize old friends. Time travels fast and you lose touch. “Let’s get together more often,” I tell my cousins and acquaintances.
Our intentions are honorable only nobody takes the initiative. We wait for someone to step forward and it’s back to inertia. Make it a point and jot it down on a calendar, even if it’s a month or two away.
One call I made was more fortuitous. It was to an old high school buddy. I contacted him shortly after the New Year, only to find out the guy had cancer and welcomed the visit more than ever.
How often do we intend to do something and it’s too late? Had I waited, my colleague may have succumbed and I would have been mortified.
The unpleasant jobs never seem to get addressed, like painting the deck and washing the loft windows. I tell myself these would be ideal resolutions but I never seem to back up my words with action. About time I cleaned out my basement and did something with 12 dusty cameras.
This coming year, I shall rid myself of the thousand LP record albums I still have stored in boxes. But that was last year’s promise carried over from the previous year. The Christmas card list I intended to pare down only got longer, even though the returns are half of what’s being sent.
Which tells me that a good resolution is always stronger at its inception than at any subsequent period. Why worry about it? You can always remake it next year. Or swear off making them altogether.
I have a few easy ones you can adopt that shouldn’t take up too much of your time. In fact, it might create a whole new atmosphere for yourself.
Buy yourself a bird feeder. Guaranteed, those feathered friends will bring you hours of enjoyment as they flutter around your window and attract their friends. You’ll get a squirrel or two but they’re God’s creatures, too, and deserve some hospitality.
Take an hour or two each week and visit someone in a nursing home or a shut-in. Adopt a pet from an animal shelter or volunteer that time at the homeless shelter. Visit the church you’ve been ignoring. Better yet, make it a point to worship as a family if possible.
Read a book, discover a new author, watch an inspiring movie, or listen to a piece of good music. Yes, it’s a New Year. And very much a renaissance.