Resolutions for the Weak-Willed
If you haven’t already broken at least one of your New Years resolutions, history tells us that you soon will. But New Year’s Resolutions aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Every year you put together a list of things that you’d like to accomplish in the next 12 months.
“Found it! Ok, time to do some editing.”
You’re never going to smoke again. No more Judge Judy (who hasn’t been there?!) You decide that you’re going to lose 10 pounds, and you’re serious this time! If you add up all of the pounds that I’ve resolved to lose over the years, it would outweigh the Eagles Defensive Line.
And I’m talking about back when they had Corey Simon!
There’s a host of other items that wind up on people’s list each year. Find a better job. Spend more time with your family. Learn a new language. Finally save enough for retirement. The list goes on! And everyone’s list is different. But with practically every list in existence, across the country and around the world, they all have one thing in common – at least one of those promises will be broken. Have you ever had someone approach you and say that they’ve just accomplished the final goal they’d set for themselves that year?
It’s never happened to me and I’ve never done it myself. Less than half of all people hold true to their New Year’s Resolutions. For most, failure is inevitable. This is especially so with the diet, traditionally the number one resolution. I probably break this one by 2pm on the 2nd of January on any given year. That tub of Edy’s Double Fudge Brownie just stares me down with conviction every time I open the freezer. I don’t stand a chance. That crap is GOOD! It doesn’t help that I open the freezer just to look at it every once in a while. But that’s neither here nor there.
You’re thinking about going out to get ice cream now, aren’t you?
Alas, my weak-willed friends, you need not worry! I’ve found a loophole in the New Year’s Resolution Rule Book. There’s even a name for it. In fact I just made it up. It’s called The Elasticity Clause.
In short, the Elasticity Clause states a simple truth. Resolutions can happen whenever the hell you want them to!
New Year’s Day is only one day in the year. It happens to be the first day, and that makes it a prime target for the listing of resolutions. It also sucks for the other 364 days of the year that get neglected when it comes to resolutions.
What about May? May likes resolutions too! Poor little month.
But resolutions don’t only have to be made on the first of the year. You can stretch that date out as far as it will go until it runs right into the back of the last day of the year. When it comes to resolutions, January 1st is elastic. January 1st can be any day of the year that you want it to be.
As humans, we don’t like to be told what to do, and the world has told us that this is the time when we start anew, even if you’re not ready. The problem lies with the amount of pressure we put on ourselves to follow through on these resolutions. The Elasticity Clause gives you the flexibility to make these resolutions any time you want.
When I was twenty years old, my resolution was to quit smoking. I lasted less than a week. When I was twenty-one years old I tried again. I lasted maybe a day. When I was twenty-two years old, I bagged the “quit smoking” resolution altogether, knowing full well that I’d be lighting up before it even struck midnight is Des Moines.
“This is my last one, I swear!”
Two months later, I started dating the woman that I’d later marry. Within a few months I had smoked my last smoke. Why the sudden change of heart? I had been given true motivation. (I was worried that she’d break up with me if I didn’t quit) And it wasn’t on January 1st. It wasn’t even the first day of summer. Hell, I don’t even remember what day it was! But I know that I didn’t need the first day of anything to decide that it was the first day that I’d be cigarette free.
That’s the beauty of the Elasticity Clause. You can stretch New Years out to any point in the year. You make that resolution when you’re good and ready. You can decide today that you’re ready to find a new job. You can decide next week that it’s time to re-do the bathroom. You could even decide right this second that it’s time to start cutting yourself a break sometimes and not beat yourself up because you had trouble breaking some habit that you’ve had for maybe fifteen or twenty years.
You can do what you want, when you want. You are your own person. Screw January 1st! What does it know? Nothing! It’s a lazy bum that takes off from work every single year. Who feels like starting a diet on January 1st? You’re hungover and all you really want is a large Wawa coffeeand some greasy food. You probably don’t even feel like getting up off of the couch for it! You don’t feel like eating fruit. And you sure as hell don’t feel like going to the gym! So right off the bat you’re feeling like a failure. And you don’t need to! You’re not a failure. Far from it! You recognized that you have something you’d like to change about yourself. And that makes you successful already! Making that change isn’t going to happen overnight. But deciding to make that change can happen in an instant. And in that instant, you just improved your life.
“We gotta’ find Doug so that we can get to the gym!”
So if you made a list filled with lofty resolutions that can change your life for the better, and broke half of those resolutions before Chris Christie had his first bear claw of the year, don’t beat yourself up. You can resolve to change yourself at any moment in time.
Nom, Nom, Nom!
This isn’t to say that you should tear up that list of resolutions and toss it in the circular file. The traditional New Year’s Resolution does have plenty of merit. And if you can do it, awesome! Otherwise, hold on to that paper and hold true to as many of them as you can. One of them may change your life. But if at some point next week you light up that smoke or take a bite out of that donut, don’t be upset. You just weren’t ready. You’ve only been practicing for when you are. Maybe that moment when you take that bite will be when you decide that you’re ready! It can be anytime!
Just remember the Elasticity Clause. Because sometime down the road your mind will tell you that it’s time. And instead of saying, “I’ll wait until next year.” You can say, “It is next year!”