Thursday, December 23, 2010

How to Make New Years Resolutions

I'm tired of failing.

From now on my primary New Years Resolution is to find activities (or to stop activities) that I actually have a very good chance of doing (or not doing). And there is one major criterion I used in choosing my goals:

I've whittled my vices down to my three or four favorites and I'm not even going to touch those. The world and I will just have to learn to deal with those together.

I suggest we confront my precious remaining character flaws the way politicians confront the politically perilous problems related to entitlement programs like Social Security or Medicare:

“Yes, they undoubtedly need to be fixed, but meanwhile look over there, doesn't that gay marriage just make your blood boil?”

That is to say we should ignore them.

With that provision, here are some of the things I'm going to do my best to accomplish in 2011:

I resolve to use more obscenities.
It seems that while I wasn't paying attention the world became a much rougher and coarser place. Some people say it started over 30 years ago when HBO brought George Carlin's “Seven Words You Can't Say on Television” to … that's right … television. Others believe it's a more modern Internet phenomenon. Either way, I've noticed that no one seems to pay attention to my anger any more. The “I am SO mad at you” face that had served me so well for decades has lost its mojo. My theory is that tossing in a few canine-related slurs, attacks on motherhood and F-bombs just might be enough to get my fits of temper the attention they deserve. I'll let you know how that goes.

I resolve to patronize more all-you-can-eat buffets.
My informal study has found that nearly 90 percent of waiters and waitresses hate their job. Not only is the self-serve buffet the perfect way to eliminate an unpopular task (in much the same way that the automobile eliminated the job of horse-droppings-collector), but given recent reports that terrorists may be targeting these gardens of gluttony, frequenting them is really the best way the average citizen can fight the forces that would see America fall.

Now, let me be very clear on one seemingly related point -- bartenders are a vital part of our society and we need as many of them as we can possibly get.

I resolve not to learn to play a musical instrument.
They're really hard, but more importantly the neighbors shouldn't have to go through all those horrible noises as I learn, only to be charged exorbitant prices to hear me play once I master the instrument.

I resolve to get no more than four haircuts this year and zero manicures.
In all honesty I'm doing that now, but these end-of-year articles require a certain amount of padding.

I resolve to wait until the last minute whenever possible.
People who wait get such a bad rap. “Procrastination” is treated as if it were the eighth deadly sin in just about every culture in the world. What few of us seem to realize is that very often jobs that you put off doing wind up not being necessary to do at all. For example, I once put off asking a girl I liked out on a date, and by the time I got all my ducks in order she was married with two children. See what I mean? Basically, people who jump on their every assignment immediately, end up doing a lot of work that isn't needed. And isn't that the textbook definition of “inefficiency”?

I resolve to watch an entire soccer game.
I know what you're thinking. “Jack, you said that these resolutions would be easily achievable. Why are you forsaking us now?” That's a valid question, and it's why I saved this one for last. The fact of the matter is that although I firmly believe in the overriding principle of painless resolutions, self improvement that comes too easily tends to be devalued over time. I've found that the utter anguish experienced in just the two-to-three hours it takes to watch one of these let's-pretend-we-have-no-arms “games” provides just the right amount of difficulty to validate this entire list.

Well, those are the issues I aim to tackle this year. I'm sure yours will be different, but in compiling your own New Years Resolutions just keep your eye on the main theme:

Real change comes when change is real easy.

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