No Years Resolutions

by Terri Winder
“I am not setting any New Year Resolutions this year,” my seventeen-year-old daughter, Cait, announced.
I looked at her inquisitively, knowing there was more to come. After all, she is seventeen. Sure enough, after a dramatic pause (during which she made sure I was listening) she continued.
“They say that only about nine percent of the people who make New Year’s resolutions even stick to them, so why make them? Instead, I am going to make ‘non-year resolutions’; that way I’ll have a better chance of keeping them.”
“How do you make a ‘non-year resolution’?” I queried.
“Well, for beginners, you don’t start on January 1, you wait a few days; and then it won’t be a New Year’s resolution. I figure it is better to gradually work my way into the changes I want to make, because the reason people usually give up is that a sudden change is too much of a shock to their system.
“For example, they begin an exercise plan and then their muscles get so sore with all their impulsive effort that they quit before they even really get started.”
“So you’re considering something like a 12-step plan?” I teased, thinking of Alcoholics Anonymous and their guide for successful reformation.
“I plan on taking it slow and easy,” she drawled, a twinkle in her eye.
I recognized her warning: Don’t push me into making yet another list of resolutions, like you have done with all of your kids every New Year since the family began.
Well, there went the plans for our traditional first of the year Family Home Evening.
Admittedly, she may be on to something. Despite all of my own good intentions, the only real changes I’ve ever really made were gradual — kind of like an old truck laboring up a hill in granny gear.
In fact, months ago I began designing what I refer to as “A Course of Discipline” for myself, a daily schedule for what I envision as the foundation of a perfect life. However, I have yet to have even a perfect day, according to my plan. Rather, in retrospect, I realize that my most favorite days of late have been unplanned. Instead of trying to achieve something, I’ve just enjoyed the moment, an unintentional carpe diem. Interestingly enough, I have still accomplished a few things, though with less angst and effort.
They say that a New Year’s resolution is just something that goes in one year and out the other. Perhaps we should all be like the man who said, “Many years ago I resolved never to bother with New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve stuck with it ever since.”
Or maybe we should be like Cait and make No Year’s resolutions. After all, even an old truck in granny gear makes steady progress.

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