The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Reflections: There is a reason why New Year’s resolutions are not carved in stone

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions, and then fail to keep them

By Mike Zielinski, Columnist

Friday, December 22, 2017

Many of us over the years have made New Year’s resolutions. And then failed to keep any of them.

About the only resolution I’ve ever kept is to no longer make New Year’s resolutions.

But for some strange reason, I’ve made an exception for 2018. I’ve made four resolutions. I’m calling them my Final Four.

One, continue procrastinating on addressing all my bad habits, starting tomorrow.

Two, pack on about 40 pounds by eating potato chips and banana splits for lunch every day.

Three, write all my columns on my laptop while perched at a Monte Carlo baccarat table.

Four, I hereby resolve to set an example of civility like an English butler and cut back my theatrical tantrums to no more than one per hour.

For many folks, making New Year’s resolutions is as inevitable as the sunrise, as certain as folks wearing adult diapers in Times Square as they wait hours for the ball to drop.

It’s also an absolute that New Year’s resolutions are much ado about nothing, even when they’re conceived with all the excitement of Pentecostalism.

Researchers have found that about 60 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions each year but only about 8 percent are successful in achieving them.

So why is it so insanely tough to stick to resolutions?

Because in making resolutions we’re essentially taking a piece of make-believe and trying to will it into reality. No wonder resolutions have all the adhesiveness of wet Post-it notes. The original emotion giving birth to a resolution soon diffuses or mutates. Plus, resolutions ride in tandem with self-discipline, something most people find to be an archetypal menace.

So here are some tips for the weak-willed masses:

Choose a specific, realistic goal. If your nickname is Cookie Monster, don’t expect your friends to ever call you Chiseled Six-Pack.

Unlike me, pick just one resolution. This is simple math. Scaling one Mount Everest is tough enough. Why go for two? There’s always next year.

Start with small steps. Change is a process. Don’t expect an immediate transformation unless you too can change water into wine.

Be content with incremental progress. For those unable to go all the way, foreplay is everything.

Get a support team. In fact, form one of the cagiest inner circles since Cardinal Richelieu.

Avoid repeating past failures. If you’ve vowed to quit smoking for the past 47 years and you’re still burning three packs down to ash each and every day, move onto to something else.

Whatever your resolutions may or may not be, Happy New Year!