Commentary

New Year’s Resolutions

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By Rachel Birdsell
TFW Contributing Writer

It’s almost 2012 and time for New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never made any before — mostly because I don’t enjoy failure, which is almost guaranteed with New Year’s resolutions. For 50 percent of resolution-makers, the resolve is mislaid within the first few months. When six months of the new year have passed, roughly 80 percent of people have said “buh-bye” to their resolutions. They should probably be called suggestions instead. So why do we continue to make resolutions even though the odds are stacked against us?
There’s a certain enjoyment in making them. It’s a fresh year and a fresh start where we can seemingly shed some of the traits and habits we don’t like about ourselves and don a new and improved us. Thinking what it would be like to be 20 pounds lighter feels good. Imagining ourselves as smoke-free feels good. Fantasizing about living in a constantly clean, organized house feels good.
The fun obviously outweighs the fear of failure when it comes to resolutions. I think it’s mostly because there’s little fear involved. In this particular instance, it’s OK for us to be losers. Almost everyone fails, so no one will give a crap when we do, right? If we fail, the harshest consequences we face from our friends and families are shoulder shrugs and eye rolls.
In spite of risking turning into a loser of epic proportions, I’ve decided to make some New Year’s resolutions. But they’re not just for me. Some may be for me, some may fit you and others you may want to gently suggest to friends and family. I’ve tried to make most of them pretty easy to keep, but I did throw in one or two that will be a bit more difficult to maintain. Please keep in mind that some of the facts following each resolution may or may not actually be facts at all.
1 Eat more dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is healthy for you, and causes fantastic things to happen. Among other things, it increases your odds of winning the lottery, and it also expands your life expectancy by six months.
2 Laugh more. Laughter releases endorphins, and endorphins are like tiny little happy pills exploding through your body. If you’ve forgotten how to laugh, send me an email and I’ll direct you to a few books and movies that are guaranteed to bring a chuckle or two.
3 Read more books, and make sure some of them are ones you normally wouldn’t read. You might learn something. Read books that you have to hide from guests when they visit.
4 Drink a glass or four of red wine every day. It would probably be best if these glasses of wine were imbibed after noon. Some doctors (the good kind) even recommend drinking red wine.
5 Be nice. It really does matter, and I think we are increasingly becoming a society that doesn’t remember how good it feels to just be nice and have others be nice in return. Start with small steps like letting someone else have the good parking spot, then work up to buying a bouquet of flowers and leaving them on someone’s doorstep.
6 Buy more shoes. It’s proven that a new pair of shoes increases your IQ 10 points. Unfortunately, tripping in your new pair of high heels and hitting your head on the coffee table causes you to lose 20 points. It’s worth the risk.
7 Procrastinate more. That way you’ll have more time to think about the task at hand, which could possibly result in completing it better than you could if you’d rushed into it.
8 Spend less time working and more time playing. All work and no play makes Jill and Jack an interminably dreary couple.
9 Do at least one thing a week that you’ve been scared to do. I’m not suggesting playing chicken with a train or anything else that would compromise your safety, but if there’s a certain someone you’ve been wanting to talk to, go for it! You have nothing to lose except a bit of ego.
10 Make up at least one fantastical tale once a day. I don’t advise using this as an excuse to get you out of trouble, unless your tale is also very believable. Our imaginations need to be stretched or we lose our sense of wonder, which then leads us to being as imaginative as Kristen Stewart’s acting.
Good luck with your resolutions. I hope 2012 is prosperous, fun and filled with big adventures!

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer, artist and semi-professional cat wrangler. Feel free to drop her a note at rabirdsell@gmail.com

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