Tuesday, December 29, 2009

02009 New Year's Resolution #40: No More Resolutions

Back in January, I resolved to try to average at least one New Year's Resolution for every week of this year. I fell short of my goal. However, I did get three quarters of the way there. I figure that's reasonably respectable and something I can extract some pride from. Now that my Year of Many Resolutions is coming to a close, I am going to make one final resolution that should carry me through 02010:

I resolve to make no New Year's Resolutions in the coming year.

I've enjoyed making all these resolutions. It's been good to have real goals to try to meet. And I've been pleasantly surprised at just how successful I've managed to be. But I've had enough for now. From now on, instead of making straightforward resolutions, I'm just going to try doing those things that make sense. I'll try to behave well, to do as little harm as possible, to improve where I see that it would be good to do so. That's generally been my approach to life all along, and I'm pretty comfortable with it.

Besides, because I didn't make all of my 02009 New Year's Resolutions at the start of the year (and because I looked at each one as a yearlong goal starting on the date that I made the resolution), I still have a lot of existing resolutions to keep me company throughout the next several months at least.

If you're interested in a fun mental exercise, I suggest trying your own hand at coming up with at least as many New Year's Resolutions in 02010 as I came up with in 02009. You'll probably find it very difficult, especially if you take it seriously.

One final comment that's worth making: I did not actually make every resolution that occurred to me over the course of the year. I could, for example, have resolved to make an effort towards being better at remembering people's names or resolved to try to teach myself to speed read or resolved to make a serious effort at learning a second language. These would all have been worthwhile resolutions. I would really like to do each. But I just knew that my likelihood of success would be terribly low during my Year of Many Resolutions. I picked my battles. Those other goals will have to wait for another time.


What follows is a list of the resolutions I made in 02009, along with the dates on which they were made. I'm not providing a status report for each one. Suffice it to say that some will end up fulfilled, some partially so, and some were a bust…although there were probably fewer in this last category than a reasonable person would expect.

1. 1/6/02009 — Whenever somebody makes a request of me, particularly if it is something that will cost me nothing but perhaps a little bit of time and effort, I resolve to try to ask myself the following question: "How would I respond to this request if it were being asked by a woman who told me that her son had been killed before his time and that this was his dying wish?"

2. 1/7/02009 — No matter how insipid I may think someone's music is [here I am thinking of acts ranging from Creed, Live, and Smashing Pumpkins (and The Smashing Pumpkins (why the nonsensical addition of "The", I will likely never comprehend)) to Steely Dan, Britney Spears and Celine Dion], I resolve that I will try to keep in mind that everyone who has ever been signed to a recording contract [even William Hung and Wesley Willis (don't get me wrong: I love what I've heard from Wesley Willis)] has a kind of talent that I simply do not possess and has developed a skill that I would likely never be able to achieve.

3. 1/9/02009 — If I get a new full time job in 02009, my new employer's main phone number will not end in "0330".

4. 1/14/02009 — I will finish typing and formatting my non-fiction book proposal and I will try to get at least one suitable publisher to entertain it. [The first publisher on my list is Oxford University Press.]

5. 1/17/02009 — I resolve to try to make at least one New Year's Resolution for every week this year.

6. 1/22/02009 — I resolve to get my weight down at least as low as 175 lbs. and to try to keep it that low.

7. 1/26/02009 — I resolve that no matter how sensible they may seem at the time, I will keep in mind that certain "experiments" ought never to be repeated. [Cinnamon and steak are two great tastes that do not go great together! Lemon Pledge is not, even in a pinch, suitable for cleaning spills on the Pergo floor!]

8. 1/27/02009 — I resolve to get more on top and to stay more on top of our household recycling. Specifically, I will make the trip to drop our recyclables off at least once a month.

9. 1/31/02009 — I resolve that I will not make efforts to become a shameless "friend accumulator" on Facebook. Anyone I invite to be my Facebook friend will be someone who I remember and for whom I have sincerely fond feelings. I won't indiscriminately invite random people who just happened to be in my high school class, or who just happen to live in my town, or who just happen to work for the same company as me.

10. 2/3/02009 — I resolve to stop putting up resistance to having my face photographed.

11. 2/10/02009 — I resolve to take a genuine stab at reading Holy Bible, by assorted dead guys.

12. 2/11/02009 — I resolve to try to produce at least 5 photographs, in the next year, of which I am unjustifiably proud.

13. 2/25/02009 — I resolve to try to reduce the amount of junk mail that ends up coming in our door, which eventually ends up going to the recyclers. Specifically, I am going to make an effort to get all of the unwanted catalogs to stop visiting our mailbox.

14. 3/5/02009 — I resolve that I will significantly cut back on my own consumption of soda and opt for water instead, most of the time.

15. 3/23/02009 — I resolve to try to improve my handwriting.

16. 3/23/02009 — I resolve to start writing letters again.

17. 4/4/02009 — I resolve to undertake some sort of new art project.

18. 4/18/02009 — I resolve to not be so senselessly protective of my bright ideas.

19. 4/22/02009 — I resolve to try to be better prepared for spontaneity!

20. 4/23/02009 — I resolve to...

* try to keep in mind that I am probably not always the ugliest guy in the room.

* try to remind myself that the IQ tests and SAT scores and school grades, while no guarantee, have been consistently high enough that "stupid" very likely does not truly apply.

* try to be encouraged (by the friends I have and by Beth's persistence in sticking around) that I may not be as boring as I have for so long believed. Perhaps there is something interesting about me after all.

* try to be less dismissive of compliments; try to accept them at face value as being sincere instead of questioning the motives behind them.

21. 5/7/02009 — I resolve to be more optimistic than is my natural tendency.

22. 5/7/02009 — I resolve that if/when it becomes a reality, I will be filled with gratitude for something that may seem strange to others: The blessed opportunity to have serious thought be strictly a leisure activity.

23. 8/28/02009 — I resolve to buy a pair of shoes to replace [my old, worn out pair].

24. 8/29/02009 — I have resolved to treat [our dog] Sherman more as one of our children than as a long-term house guest.

25. 9/1/02009 — I have resolved to make flossing a regular, lifelong, habitual part of my daily routine.

26. 9/3/02009 — I resolve to train myself to scoop the clumps from [our cat] Willow's litter boxes on a daily basis instead of just when I remember to get around to it.

27. 9/15/02009 — I resolve to consistently wear protective ear plugs whenever I am running either the lawnmower or the snow thrower.

28. 9/15/02009 — I resolve that I will learn to ride a unicycle by this time next year.

29. 9/22/02009 — I resolve to try to remember to use "aught" in speaking the name of this year (or any year since 02001), should the opportunity arise.

30. 10/13/02009 — I resolve to make a serious effort to become a fairly proficient touch typist within a year.

31. 10/20/02009 — I resolve to try to grow my own pumpkin(s) in the following year so that I can carve a jack-o'-lantern in 02010 without having to pay for it.

32. 10/30/02009 — I resolve to not wallow in my failures, but instead to take pride in my successes.

33. 10/30/02009 — I resolve to become a coupon clipper, a comparison shopper, an anti-spendthrift (at least as far as grocery shopping is concerned).

34. 10/31/02009 — I resolve to fit regular visits to the American Red Cross into my schedule. I will not merely wait for a blood drive to come conveniently close to home on a day when I don't have to work. Instead, I will make a point of scheduling appointments and making the trip to Manchester to give away my platelets.

36. 11/28/02009 — I resolve to exercise much more regularly than I ever have before.

37. 12/10/02009 — I resolve to get around to formatting and self-publishing my 02005 novella, in hopes that it might find an audience.

38. 12/12/02009 — I resolve to learn how to operate comfortably and competently in the InDesign environment.

39. 12/26/02009 — I resolved to finally learn how to skate backwards.

40. 12/29/02009 — I resolve to make no New Year's Resolutions in the coming year.

1 comment:

  1. Louis, I love this post! I hope you and Beth are well (Please say hello to her for me). We were so pleased to see your comment on our blog. We just are TERRIBLE about responding sometimes! Maybe there's a resolution in there somewhere... I hope you know how special I think Beth is, and that if first impressions count, she married a very sharp, good man. I was impressed very much by you and your honesty. I do hope all is well with you and Beth, and with the good folks back east. We miss everyone, but this is where we need to be. Blaine is doing well, he just went back to work (!). Say hi, and hope to hear from you again, probably on our blog! Then I can reply on yours...? Take care. Marleigh