It’s that time of year again: the time to start considering your New Year’s Resolutions.
New Year’s Resolutions are kind of like the Academy Awards for To Do lists. This is the big one. Granted, not everyone goes in for To Do lists (although I personally find them more dignified than plastering 87,000 Post It notes around the place) and, likewise, not everyone goes in for New Year’s resolutions. I think the people who need them the most are probably the people least likely to pen a NYR–but that could be sour grapes on my part.
I am an inveterate list maker. As I noted elsewhere, my lists have addendums. The margins of my lists always have notes reading: See attached list. By the end of the year my “list” resembles a chapbook–or possibly a prayer book. I make lists for everything from what I plan to pick up at the grocery store to what I want to get done on my vacation. The older I get, the more lists I make. This is partly due to:
1) My memory doesn’t seem to be as sharp as it once was
2) I seem to be getting less and less done so the lists compile
I think one reason my memory is no longer as sharp as it once was (except in regards to the lists that I make out for Mr. Thrilling, in which case I have total recall) is because I have a lot more to remember now. Do you notice how, the more you do, the more you have to do? Or is this something unique to writing and writers?
For example: You sell a book. You might think your next task is to write another book. And that’s true, but you also have the promotion of the first book to deal with. And with each step of promotion, comes a lot of itty bitty stuff to keep track of–like remembering to confirm this, and mail that, and run off this, and answer that. And after you sell the second book, that you hopefully remembered to write, all that keeping track stuff is multipled by two. And then three. And then…well, you get the idea.
But I’m wandering from my point. We do that at my age. And with all I have to remember.
So…New Year’s Resolutions. You can probably guess the most popular top ten New Year’s Resolutions–although I wouldn’t have guessed SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS was something most of us had to resolve to do.
And how sad is that?
LOSING WEIGHT is always a big one. Ha! Get it? A “big one?” I think this is partly due to the time of year we have to come up with resolutions. After a month of parties and baking and eating everything we ordinarily would avoid, no wonder this one hits everyone’s list. If we were making our lists in the summer when we’re all outside being active and health-conscious, a lot more lists would say things like: REPAINT SAIL BOAT or GET DEGREE IN WINDSURFING.
GET MORE EXERCISE probably hits every Things To Do list from January on. It’s like the Susan Lucci of Good Intentions. Okay, maybe it doesn’t hit the list of famous sports icons much, but attend any writer’s convention and it’s pretty obvious most of us don’t get out in the sun enough–let alone move around once we’re out there.
Hey, I’m speaking for myself. The rest of you look mahvellous!!!
QUIT SMOKING. I wish you all luck with that one. For my own sake.
ENJOY LIFE MORE. Again, what does it say about us as a nation that we need to make a formal written resolution to enjoy our lives more? It’s kind of frightening, really.
QUIT DRINKING. Jeez. See above. No wonder you’re drinking so much.
GET OUT OF DEBT. That’s an excellent resolution. Have you seen the statistics on Americans and debt? Of course sometimes it takes a lot more that resolution. Sometimes it takes a decent wage–which, sadly turns out to be a luxury not every American enjoys. And, for those of you who don’t keep track of such things, your friendly neighborhood credit card companies have pushed through changes within the law that will make it harder and harder for decent hardworking people to ever escape debt. When a country puts credit card payments above child support, something is seriously wrong.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW. See above? Just kidding. I really like this one, although I think if you read and are active in the world, it’s hard not to learn a new skill or assimilate some new information. Maybe this has to do more with attitude. More of a mindset. Learn to embrace change is probably more to the point, because life is change.
HELP OTHERS. That’s a nice one. That Practice Random Acts of Kindness sort of thing. Volunteering is good, but we could all start small and simply remember to say please and thank you–and even smile once in a while. Especially at this time of year when everyone is–ironically–a bit testy. I bring this up only because I had witnessed three separate incidents of cars driving right through crosswalks at the grocery store yesterday morning–and it was only seven-thirty. So how much had these guys (yes, guys all of them) had to put up with in the half an hour since they fell out of bed that they had to nearly run down pedestrians in crosswalks?
GET ORGANIZED. We’ve come full circle. The final most popular New Year’s Resolution is about getting organized–and how do we begin to get organized? WE MAKE LISTS!!! Yes, the ultimate in list-making is to make a list about making more lists.
So let me ask you. Do you make New Year Resolutions? Do you make them formally–I mean, do you write them down or do you just sort of think to yourself on New Year’s Eve, Jeez, why did I drink so much? Next year no cheap Vodka for me…
And if you do make New Year Resolutions, do you usually keep them?