My Facebook page and my email inbox are inundated with links to advice on making New Year’s resolutions. Generally, I say I’m not going to make resolutions. Why set myself up for failure?
Or, as Mark Twain said, “New Year’s day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving Hell with them as usual.”
I make resolutions all year:
- I'm going to start going to bed earlier. As soon as I finish writing this post tonight, for instance. After I read for a while. Only a few chapters. Or I finish the book.
- · I’m going to clean one room a day. Or one part of a room. Or maybe a drawer. At least a few times a week. Or maybe once a week. Or when I notice cobwebs.
- · I’m going to write for an hour a day. Possibly half an hour. Or think about what I want to write. Maybe come up with a cool title.
- · I’m going to stop eating after dinner. Or stop eating junk food after dinner. Maybe after 8pm or so, since I tend to sleep late and that would still leave a big gap between snack and breakfast. Unless I’m really hungry. Or out with friends. Or have some really yummy treat stashed in the house that I might as well eat and get it over with.
- · I’m not just going to ride the bike or swim for half an hour four or five days a week. I’m also going to take a walk every day. Or possibly on the days it’s not raining. Or when it’s not cold. Or on the days when I don’t go to work, because work involves a lot of walking and standing, and that counts too, doesn’t it? Does walking around a mall or grocery store also count? Walking to my car?
- · I’m going to stop wasting time clicking on Facebook articles or reading emails that tell me how to save money on airfare, how to unclutter my home, or how to make my book a bestseller. (Note to self--this requires actually writing the book.) As long as neglecting these articles doesn’t make me miss the one tip that might change my life.
Because, look, in one such article listing 50 suggested resolutions for the New Year, I found one that said I should try to read one book a month. This puzzles me. People have to try to read books? If I wasn’t reading books, most likely I’d be going to bed early, taking time to take a walk, be on time for work. Surely they can’t mean to limit myself to one book a month? I can see how that would solve some of my other problems. It would also make me crazy.
Maybe I should just leave well enough alone. I’ve done OK so far without keeping any of these well-intentioned resolutions. Maybe I should take a hint from Mark Twain and just go directly to paving my way to Hell.