December 31st, 1999

The New Year’s Resolution

by Marvin Leach • in Personal

happy new year !

Linus Van Pelt drives us to the shores of self-improvement at the beginning of every new year? Why the need for the New Year’s Resolution? An added topic for small talk over mincemeat pie and eggnog?

Could be. But as this new year approached, folks seemed too preoccupied with re-telling tired Y2K jokes, or too brimming with curiosity about just what YOUR festive plans were for this momentous New Year’s Eve, than to ask the dreaded, “So, what’s your New Year’s Resolution?”

Hey, I’m all for self-improvement. Honest and true blue. But linking life-change to the beginning of the year seems to be a sure-fire formula for disappointment. Yes, you could argue that the ritual implied in passing from one calendar year to the next props up, emboldens and otherwise strengthens one’s resolve. I say it does just the opposite. It’s a contrived ritual, if anything, and the promises we make to ourselves are most likely guilt-driven reactions to all that holiday revelry.

That’s not to say that the New Year’s Resolution is on the outs. Au contraire. I’m sure there were countless self-promises made this past holiday. But I think, for once, most of us kept them to ourselves. And that’s the way it oughta be, I say. When, giddy with last moments of December 31st, we jabber on about how we’re going to make ourselves THAT much better, we’re letting the ghost out of the machine. It’s liberating, sure, but that’s what you don’t want. That little spirit needs to kick around, reminding you not to eat CheezWhiz right out the jar…Ahem

But let’s be honest with ourselves here: that first day of January, you’re more likely to be waking up at three in the afternoon with the taste of sweat socks in your mouth than to be doing laps at the local velodrome. And what kind of way is that to start your new-and-improved life? Takes the wind right out of those well-meaning sails.

So here’s my modest proposal. Why not make that resolution when the fancy strikes you? Whether it be January 1st or Ground Hog Day. I don’t want to get all Anthony Robbins here, but if there’s something you want to change about your life, why wait until January 1st to take it seriously? Write it in your little journal — or Palm Pilot for you techo-geeks — right there and then, at the moment of your decision, and don’t tell a soul.

There you have it. A Marvin Leach style New Year’s Resolution, ready to use anytime. Betcha you’re just bursting to find out what I’ll be giving up this year for Lent.

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