Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm Not One for New Year's Resolutions, However ...

There are no doubt a few things—hell, many for that matter—about my life that a resolution to change could only help. But are these disingenuous promises we make to ourselves every January 1st really doing us any good, or do they just set us up for failure?

I can only recall one New Year's resolution I ever made that met with even the most modest level of success. Three years ago I resolved to start drinking coffee, whether self-brewed or purchased from a coffee shop, that was made of one-half regular and one-half decaffeinated coffee. My crack medical team impressed upon me the notion that too much caffeine was probably not good for someone with a history of less-than-stellar impulse control. Amazingly, I managed to habituate myself to the task of buying and brewing only semi-caffeinated java for about 18 months! Then one day I forgot to ask for half-decaf and was treated to the most delicious-tasting, fully satisfying, 100% caffeinated coffee. Wow! For several moments I wondered why my coffee tasted so good, then it dawned on me: there was no decaf in this mug! I made a new resolution on that day: to never drink half-decaffeinated swill ever again.

It's December 31st again, and I've been considering a few resolutions for this New Year that I am determined to make succeed:

1. Every day in my email in box, I receive several 'words-of-the-day' from various sources. (It's been very helpful for improving my vapid vocabulary.) Each of these words comes, of course, with its definitions as well as a sentence or two exemplifying its uses. At the bottom of each word entry is a paragraph dedicated to the etymology of the featured word. As a rule, I don't bother reading this part. On those occasions when I do, I am usually amazed, impressed, and informed to the point of giddiness. It's one thing to know a word's definition; it's quite another to be able to expound about its origins and historical significance. I am therefore resolved this coming New Year to reading the entire contents of my 'words-of-the-day' emails—including etymologies—for the betterment of my appreciation for words and how to properly use them.

2. At this point, things get a little dicey. My Dunkin Donuts habit is in dire need of intervention. For the coming year, I resolve not to go into a Dunking Donuts coffee shop more than once on any given day. Do I hear snickering? No, this is not meant as a joke. Committing to this resolution would realize a significant step forward in my quest to save a little money as well as moderate my caffeine intake. Those who know me understand full well what an achievement this would be. Well, let's just move on. I sense some of you are still laughing.

3. This is a big one. My daughter and I have to stop conspiring to buy techno-gadgets for the computer or stereo system behind Jami's back. It's really quite devious, to say nothing of immature. Besides, I think Alycia is a rat anyway; Jami always seems to find out everything. Some partner-in-crime she turned out to be.

4. And finally, I resolve to remove not just some, but all, of the rust that is accumulating on my treadmill. It's such a pain. Every time I go to use it (every January 1st) it squeals so loudly I am forced to turn it off before it catches fire. I'll just have to achieve my Richard Gere physique some other way.

This year is going to be different. There's no reason a few well thought out resolutions can't succeed. This year I resolve to stick to my resolutions. (Can you do that?) Sure you can. You just watch. This year is going to be different.

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