Murphy\’s Bye-Laws

Law #4: Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. –H.D. Thoreau

New Year’s Resolve

Posted by PintofStout on January 3, 2006

Every year it happens.  People gather around a television at midnight on December 31st, some count down out loud (some louder than others) from ten to one, and shout “Happy New Year.”  Then they sip champagne or sparkling grape juice, kiss their most beloved and hug the rest of the party, and then they’ll stand around and profess their New Year’s Resolutions.  Most go something along the lines of dieting or exercise, which is no surprise coming off the feasting season.  Still others take the pseudo-comedy route and resolve not to make resolutions again.  I, when pressed, resolved to eat more hot dogs.

But is midnight on New Year’s Eve after several hours of drinking the best time and place to make half-hearted resolutions about the coming year?  In short, Yes.  Since these resolutions are hardly more than a party game, resolve away.  Say you’ll resolve to cure AIDS or quell the Iraqi Insurgency.  Or you could also go for the silly, but much easier-to-live-up-to route of resolving to wear pants in public this year (or spend another vacation in the county slammer).

Making New Year’s Resolutions is a party game.  They seldom carry weight enough to remember for a month, let alone change a way of life or one’s outlook.  You should avoid making any real resolutions on New Year’s Eve simply because the game atmosphere can almost assuredly relegate that thought to history as it slips off your mind in the slippery alcoholic haze that you eventually wash off your brain with the hangover the next day.  Come February, I say one in twenty people will remember their resolutions.  If they do remember, the resolution will likely be to lose weight or eat healthier or else they were the designated driver, and that is but a single month away.  Also, if you state some resolve for a change in the upcoming year, does that mean the change is temporary?  That hardly seems like resolve to me.

This is not to say that resolutions are bad things.  It’s just that resolutions at midnight on December 31st aren’t the best way to actually resolve yourself to some fundamental change in behavior or attitude.  Resolutions for such changes are long and piecemeal processes.  I resolved on my birthday last year to strive to make myself free in my life.  Much of this was spurred by long frustration at the national political scene (the whole political scene, really) and by reading Harry Browne’s How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.  It was all about finding freedom in small personal ways rather than relying on others to give it to you; realizing the things you can control and things you can’t.  It is much easier to make changes in things you have direct control of rather than trying to influence or simply wait for somebody else to make the desired changes.  I made the resolution on my birthday last year and kept a journal to chart my progress, which has been slow.  The biggest changes were in outlook and attitude.  One can’t resolve to make vast personal changes without first the desire for the change and a positive attitude in the hopes of success in the change.  There can be no failures in a resolution of this nature, only setbacks.  If a setback causes abandonment of the goal, it was simply an attempt not a resolution.

So in light of my comments above, I’ll share my resolutions for this timely marker not in the spirit of a game, but in a short-term goal in my larger resolution, made after days of reflection.  I will resolve to make myself stronger and more self-sufficient in my own personal defense and in providing for Autumn’s and my life.  Much of this revolves around an old goal that I’m simply renewing; to not be so damned lazy.  It is an uphill battle and I’ve been set back a-plenty.  In fact I’ve been stymied more than I’ve made progress.  Still the resolve to achieve or come closer to achieving this goal is there.  So I mean to learn how to defend myself better physically and perhaps mentally.  Since we’ve had a few days to sleep off the old year and I’ve shared with you what I intend to shoot for, what are your real resolutions?  They could have been made months or even years ago.  But what are your resolutions and any short-term goals associated with them in this coming calendar year?

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