When I was a kid, every Dec. 31st I'd resolve to exercise more, be nicer to my brothers, keep my room clean, practice my violin more often, and pull my grades up. And every year, every one of those mild resolutions would drop by the wayside within a month -- sometimes sooner.
When I hit college, I dropped the resolution about the grades from my list. And you know what? I made the Dean's List every semester.
It took me a while to catch on, but now that I'm staring down 40, I've finally figured out that the quickest way for me to fail at something is to make it a New Year's resolution.
A few years ago, I regulated all resolution-making activities to my birthday and decided that they could be small things -- nothing about keeping the house cleaner or climbing the corporate ladder -- and they had to do with improving myself (get in shape) or my life (set new goals).
You know what? I broke those, too. It took more than a month, but less than a summer.
So, this year, no resolutions. Definitely not for the New Year, possibly not for my birthday, either. If I decide to lose weight, it will be because I want to feel more comfortable in my body, not because I resolved to. I'll be happy to find a way to declutter my house and keep things clean; it might involve cloning myself, or I may have to swallow my pride and accept the offer of a one-a-month cleaning service from my sister-in-law. But if that happens -- here is where my husband holds his breath and considers a cleaning tantrum -- it will be because I want to and somehow find a way to, not because I've resolved to.
This year, the pressure is off. I'd prefer to think of that as a belated Christmas gift instead of a de-facto resolution.
Wishing you all the best in 2010!