Well, just like you, this year it took me only about three days to break my New Year’s resolution. I thought I had one picked out that would be foolproof, something that I could actually do, something that I could seriously achieve with some due diligence. My resolution was to be a better person for my family and friends. That didn’t last long. Like years gone by, no such luck. Gone. Broken.
I should have known better. For many years I didn’t even try to make a New Year’s resolution. Fear of failure was the cause. I would settled on the same old standby — to ignore making any resolution at all.
But this year, I wanted to try something different. I really wanted to look into this resolution thing — something I could finally keep. I really wanted to try. The “better person” resolution failed miserably on its first attempt when I got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic — that quickly killed that resolution. I had to find a better resolution — something more “attainable.” That’s how I got working on this article. I would conduct a poll. Everyone loves polls!
I decided to take a survey this year and ask folks that I knew, sometimes even complete strangers, what were there New Year’s resolutions? Maybe I could get some ideas.
How difficult could that be? Just ask folks what their resolutions were for the coming year. It seems like an innocent enough assignment. So, I set out on my task about two weeks ago with some surprising results.
“What’s your New Year’s resolution?“ I asked. Strangely enough, practically everyone I asked came back with the exact same retort, “I am not making any New Year’s resolutions this year.” Folks were adamant about it too. Wow!
I would have to say that “no resolutions” had to be about 75% of the responses. In years past, I would hear that response a lot, but not to the extent that I heard it this year. Why? That was the next question. Why are people unwilling to personally commit to a year that almost demands personal commitment? All rhetorical questions.
Then, I thought about it. “Well, isn’t making no resolution at all a resolution? And isn’t making a no resolution, resolution, already a resolution that is immediately broken as a resolution?”
My head was beginning to hurt.
The no resolution, resolution, happens because people are tired of being challenged about their ideas — being told that they are wrong in their opinion — no matter what that opinion might be. Just raise your hand in any room or social forum these days for any reason and a bunch of folks want to slap it down. So, if you don’t make any commitment to raise your hand, no one can slap it down, I figure. Stands to reason. The decision not to make any resolutions at all is a reaction to the world who are eager to yell out, “Keep your hands to yourself.”
The second most common resolution I heard out there was, “I want to be a lot less negative in my political responses and not be such a negative person, especially on social media.”
Well, that lasted about a day didn’t it? The first mention of Donald Trump on news broadcasts or social media has people boiling up in feeding frenzies. People end up throwing unending Twittered spitballs at each other. That was not a realistic resolution to start with, trust me. 2020 is an election year. There is no possible way that the next 11 months will be met with temperance. Resolution number two — out the window.
The third most frequent resolution I got was, “I want to lose weight and I am going to do it this time in 2020.” That lasted about 10 minutes didn’t it, Gang? Just as soon as that platter of Christmas cookies you lost was rediscovered behind the sagging Christmas tree that’s still up. Look, Santa didn’t get that chubby profile by climbing up and down chimneys. He got his “ho-ho-ho” from the “dough-dough-dough” you left him along with the “whole-whole-whole” milk. Say goodbye to resolution number three.
The fourth resolution that was bandied about was, “I’m going to use less social media and dependency on my cell phone.” Then, your phone “Bings” with a text from one of your friends who complains about the political post that they just read on Facebook, “I want you to help join a group in opposition to this meme. We won’t stand for this! Are you with me?”
There goes that resolution as well.
In years past, when writing a New Year’s column for this paper, I titled those columns, “Studs and Duds.” As the title suggests, they were the coolest things that happened the previous year along with some not so cool stuff. 50/50. In 2019, there were just too many more Duds on the table outside of Trump’s economy. So, in an effort to stay “fair and balanced” I dropped that concept for this New Year’s article. But, it left me with the objective — I wanted a resolution I could actually keep.
I thought about it, and thought about it, and actually did make a resolution. Most of my friends think I’m too opinionated and argumentative. A regular curmudgeon. So, my resolution for 2020 is: To live up to their expectations and to be the most objectionable and most opinionated person in real life that they were looking for and had come to expect. I could not possibly fail in this resolution mission. All I had to do was “carry-on.” Easy-peasy. Hold my beer. I can do this. I figure most of my real friends will still stick around anyway if I succeed.
Or, maybe, just maybe, this will be just one more resolution I will break for the hell of it and I’ll end up being a nice fellow and a reasonable guy who doesn’t raise a contrary hand.