New Years Resolutions

There is a recipe for New Years resolutions. You may be thinking that such a recipe would look like this:

  • 4 cups of good intentions
  • 1 1/2 cups discipline
  • 2 tbsp hope
  • 2 tbsp of stick-to-it-iveness
  • Combine thoroughly using self-determination. It may take time, but don't give up! Once mixed, simmer with hard work until your dreams come true.

If you think that's it then you're dumb. The actual recipe is more like this:

  • A huge portion of failure
  • Some self loathing
  • A fair amount of shame

There are no cooking instructions because it all happens without effort or preparation. As evidenced by the Bush administration, failure is the most natural of human conditions. Let's examine resolutions and discover what the problem is.

What are the most common resolutions?

  • Be less fat
  • Get in shape
  • Stop chewing on other people's hair
  • Be organized
  • Be nice to annoying co-worker
  • Read the whole Bible (even the boring parts)
  • Learn Capoeira
  • Stop saying ****

Why do we fail at keeping these resolutions?

Failure is usually caused by a lack of planning, you must have a plan. How will you be less fat? Only eat grapefruit? No carbs? Tape worms? Vomiting? Remember that vomiting should only be performed under the supervision of a physician or Nicole Richie. (Actually, Nicole Richie is an authority on just about everything. When I was a visiting professor at Oxford, I heard her give a stunning lecture entitled Minor Characters in English Literature from 1300-1750.) Poor planning will also prevent you from getting into shape. You must be prepared for the misery of exercise; I mean you actually have to put forth effort. Most people are not prepared for how unpleasant that can be.

Some resolutions fail because they are impossible to keep. Hair is so delicious I could never stop chewing it. The Suave® commercials say you can't tell the difference between their products and fancy-schmancy salon products for snobs. I can. People who can?t tell the difference obviously have unsophisticated palettes.

You really can't be nice to that co-worker. He is not only annoying, but has no idea how to do his job. Don't forget he stole that money from your 401k and he told the whole office about your hemorrhoids. He also breaths loudly through his nose. How did he get such a hot wife? What a jerk!

Sometimes, the most difficult part of your resolution is the largest part of the resolution. The boring parts of the Bible account for about 92% of the book. It's nice that the children of Israel chronicled every place they ever went, but should you really have to read about it? A resolution like this can make you break other resolutions. It could make you frustrated and force you to say ****.

Other resolutions are simply stupid. Capoeira? How do you expect to learn capoeira when you are fat and out of shape? Have you seen capoeira? Fat, out of shape losers just can't pull it off.

And so the secret to resolutions is the same as the secret to life. Don't expect much and don't try very hard. W.C. Fields said, "If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it."

January 2008