.. How Deep Is Your Resolve?

“I resolve this year to get into great shape!!!”
If you bought into the millennium frenzy as 1999 wound down, you might have regarded your New Years resolutions as new millennium resolutions. Talk about commitment! Here at the News we resolved to pole readers, friends, and acquaintances, asking what they’d resolved, if anything. Beyond simple nosiness, we thought this exercise might reveal our audience’s moral condition, not to mention morale, as they face this artificial new beginning foisted upon the western world by marketing managers everywhere.

What we learned is reassuring. For the most part you’re not in a "new millennium" fever. Many of you are aware of and wish to correct physical and intellectual lapses and bad habits. A few stalwart individuals firmly refuse to resolve. We can respect that. But perhaps your lack of resolve stems from lack of a good idea. We’ve decided to adopt Scott See’s submission, to get rich this year, so we’re offering the New’s first e-commerce effort, the New Year’s Resolution Delivery Service ($10 minimum order). Even if you made resolutions, check out our menu for some tasty new choices.

“I try not to be too ambitious because I failed miserably last year trying to juggle all of my balls.”
Our favorites are the carefully tempered resolutions, put forth by individuals who have learned to work within their capabilities. For example:

Year after year I have resolved to lose weight and improve my physical fitness. New Years Eve after New Years Eve I have realized that I am heavier and in worse condition than the year before. After half a century of observing this trend the light has finally dawned and this year I resolve to gain weight and be as lazy as possible.
. . . to tap the creativity well more deeply, and to take that giant leap from the idea stage to the action stage. And since I cant seem to do anything positive about what I look like, I’ll try to do positive things about what I sound and seem like. And if all my efforts at self improvement fail, I hope to find solace in the fun-loving, pain-numbing realm of self delusion.
Mine are pretty boring. I try not to be too ambitious because I failed miserably last year trying to juggle all of my balls. So I kept it simple. Trying to keep myself healthy (because I was sick so much Sept. to Dec.) by treating my body "well" (notice I did not say lose weight) and whole. Also to go to church at least twice a month (part of the wellness too). Not to procrastinate or panic as much about "perfection" at school work, etc., and keep in better touch with friends.

While one could call these faux resolutions--is a resolution that acknowledges previous failure but fails to correct it really a resolution?--we appreciate their sincerity and humor. Those who refuse to resolve for fear of failure should take note of this soft-sell approach. One non-resolver would probably benefit from some marketing and time-management courses:

Im sorry that I will be of no help to your article. [Ha!--Ed] I have never made a New Years Resolution. If I were to do so now, it would be to clean up my office here (which is still in a terrible disarray from the move) and to put up pictures so it looks like we really live here. But I will probably do those things no matter what. It just doesnt seem like my priority.

“Working on re-filling my karma account”
Here we have the perfect resolution material -- a task that she wants to do, and admits she will probably get to. Management consultants always tell you when you’re making a "to-do" list to put on a couple items that are done or nearly done so you will have the satisfaction of crossing them off right away. There’s no rule that says a New Year’s resolution has to be an ongoing, year-long process.

No real resolutions this year. Working on re-filling my karma account. Completely blew all my good karma. Long story, but go see Sweet and Lowdown, the new Woody Allen flick. You might recognize somebody in it...

“Take up the oboe.”
This tantalizing non-resolution begs several questions: what sort of bad behavior has the resolver engaged in to deplete his karma account, and how does it relate to appearing in a Woody Allen movie? We at the News would argue that just participating in a Woody Allen movie is enough to suck the good karma from anyone, but we don’t think that’s quite what our friend means. (If a news reader, other than this resolver who knows who he is, would like to submit a review of the movie in question, we’ll happily publish it in the Global Village‹we’re not likely to see the movie.)

“Wish me luck!”
It’s telling that our faux resolves tend to address a common resolution theme: exercise. Surprisingly, given our image-conscious society, we did not receive an abundance of physical fitness resolutions. Those non-soft-sellers who did make a body-oriented resolution ranged from the mild:

. . . Do at least a little bit of yoga every day. . . . Walk more.
My resolution is to floss my teeth every day! So I don’t wind up like my mom, with false teeth!

To the ambitious:

I resolve this year to get into great shape!!! I would like to buy a pilates exercise system!! (A 21st century rack or torture device to help build sinuous muscles. Ahem!!!) Wish me luck!
My New Years resolution has been to use our new Nordic track. . . . Ive been getting on it every other day for about half an hour. I am due to use it today, but I am in a lazy mood. Wish me luck!

(On January 19 this resolver admited that she’d procrastinated again--Ed)

Perhaps most telling about these resolutions is the request to "wish me luck!" Click here if you’d like to send encouragement to these resolvers and the News will forward it to them for you.

“Get a new job as soon as possible!”
Curiously, nobody specifically resolved to "diet" or "change my eating habits." So maybe the soft-sellers--the only ones who did address this area--are at the forefront of a new trend in resolutions‹the resolution to accept their bodies and focus on their minds and spirits. Spiritual/intellectual/self-improvement resolutions must be the most common, and the most often broken. Our readers offer up plans from the sublime to the ridiculous. Examples, in semi-reverse order:

  • I’m afraid my resolution is not very creative though I hope its possible. Im going to stop swearing, damn it! Oops! I guess Ive got to keep working on it...
  • Take up the oboe.
  • Dress for success.
  • I havent made any real resolutions but I heard a good one I would like to try. It is to make someone smile every day.
  • Study Italian and/or (ee-yoo) German [Get it?‹Ed]
  • Learn the mezzo-soprano solos in the Verdi Requiem.
  • Join a professional organization that holds conventions, and go to one.
  • To focus, concentrate and put more effort into my job.
  • Get a new job as soon as possible!
  • Mine would be to quit worrying over things I have no control over and to find inner peace with myself.
  • I have already quit smoking and it will be a year Feb. 15th. Harder for me than quitting the nasty habit is that I am trying with all of my will not to get so overly involved in [my children’s] lives. I made the resolution and, of course, have already broken it. . . .
  • Listen.

The simplicity and elegance of a resolution like "Listen" almost conceal how ambitious it is. Listening‹really listening, not just hearing‹requires breaking and remaking lifelong habits.

The people with good body images tend to push for quality-of-life improvement. Some are both realistic and profound:

This year, my resolution is to make more time to see my friends The catalyst for my resolution was an unfortunate accident that killed a friend who was at my 40th [birthday] party. On January 4, he was in a freak accident. He leaves behind a 5 year old daughter and a wife that is 4 months pregnant with his son. It makes you think.

[This resolver has already made strides toward success by organizing an outing with a group of friends -- Ed]

Others seem to regard the resolution as a wish:

Im tired of wanting for money. I want to get rich this year. A little rich would be okay. But filthy rich would be even better. Rich enough to charter a sailboat in the British Virgin Island one month a year would be best.
Ill be curious to see this. I wouldnt have even had a nyr if you hadnt inspired me... While some combine the achievable! With the nearly impossible!
To go on a nice vacation...again. Thats my life’s resolution. And to curb my Loehmanns habit.

And some just sentence themselves (but maybe that’s all a resolution is):

My resolution is to fix-up/improve our new house *quickly* to free up time to spend on other things!

And finally, our favorite response, probably because is sounds like what we think we’d get if we could ask this question in the year 3000:

Thanks for your note. I will be out of the office until Wednesday, January 19. If you need assistance in the interim, please contact . . .

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