Tuesday 06 Dec 2016

Resolution Solution
Jennifer Flaten

As I was watching the Muppet Christmas Carol with the kids, I began to ruminate about resolutions.

Yes, you read that right; I was watching the Muppet Christmas Carol. Come on, what better way to expose the kids to classics like Dickens, then to have them performed by singing and dancing puppets?

Besides, Kermit is a very believable Bob Cratchett. And, oh, all right I admit it, I love the Muppets I watch them whenever I can.

Anyway, as I was watching Ebenezer transform from cold-hearted capitalist to kind and generous humanitarian in the course of an evening I got to thinking about resolutions in general.

It seems that resolutions and the holiday season go hand in hand. If not the grand sweeping resolutions made on New Years eve, like vowing to never eat sweets again, then the smaller, more mundane resolutions like resolving to once and for all ignore Aunt Ethel's mean spirited barbs at Christmas dinner.

Yet, it is New Years Eve, with its party hats and endless glasses of sparkling beverages, where we are most likely to state with a firm resolve to fix whatever it is about us that we think is broken.

We enter the New Year with a huge task of changing ourselves or someone else.

As the clock, strikes midnight many will have a list a mile long of resolutions for the New Year. Unfortunately, most, if not all, of these resolutions will fall to the wayside shortly into the New Year, leaving the resolver feeling disappointed and depressed.

The problem lies in how much emphasis people put on the "New Year". There really isn't anything that new about the New Year. Sure, the calendar itself is a clean slate, but we are not.

All the things that dogged us in the old year are still there come 12:01Am 01/01.

Just because you have cracked a blank calendar open, does not mean you have a fresh life. All those old habits and hobbyhorses are part of you in the New Year.

The fact that you eat a box of chocolate when stressed will not immediately go away come 12:01. Nor will the fact that you and your father in law loathe each other be any different in the New Year.

How do you expect a resolution to last when the deck is so stacked against you?

Now I am not against resolutions, not at all, I just think we should try to make resolutions that are more reasonable.

In fact, I think we should try to make fun resolutions, things we really want/like to do. We should resolve to do things we love, simply because we tend to stick with things we love.

How about resolving to have a cookie and glass of milk each night before bed, doesn't that sound like something fun and something you are more likely to do then, say, eat five servings of leafy greens each day?

You could resolve to take one personal day a month and spend it on something your love to do, even if that means spending that day laying in bed, reading, eating bon-bons.

Instead, you will most likely resolve to hit the gym five days a week at six am, for at least an hour.

Talk about boring, no wonder you fail.

Some people get so disillusioned when they fall off the resolution wagon, that they don't see that each day is a chance to start again. Of course, you still have all the emotional baggage that goes with the resolution, but at least you can keep trying.

If you don't manage to lose five pounds that first week, so what, keep trying!

Now, if you are attempting a life changing resolution you should consider professional help (yes, a therapist or shrink) if you have a ton of baggage that goes with the resolution.

If you are resolving to give up alcohol, you may need professional guidance as to why you drink, so go get it. Follow my advice and maybe you can keep your resolutions this year.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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