Three hundred sixty-five days is a long time.
Reeeeeeeeally long if you have just resolved to exercise, cook leafy greens, actually eat the leafy greens, not waste water, not waste time, call your mother, stop slumping, start flossing, stop obsessing about your so-called "finances" — even though if you don't start saving soon, you will end up with a hot plate and a rat for your roommates — adopt a positive attitude (ha), start going to bed without dithering for an hour and still not hanging up your clothes (ha), stop frying everything in butter, stop making piles, stop moving the piles around, start doing the crossword puzzle so (the scientists say) you will have slightly less of a chance of developing Alzheimer's disease (as if that's really going to make a difference with a family history such as yours), stop driving yourself and everyone else nuts with all the doom and gloom, and, of course, start living in the moment!
Though why you'd want to live in this particular moment, goodness knows.
In short: No matter how naturally Pollyannaish one may be, it is hard to live up to one's New Year's resolutions. That's why most of us end up tossing them out even before we toss out what's left of the cheese ball — and, for good measure, doing so with a celebratory breakfast of sausage patties and a McFlurry.
Followed by a brief nap, sometimes in public.
Still, it does feel a tad disappointing to give up so soon on so many fresh starts. So this year, instead of saying "another McFlurry, my friend, and make it a double!" maybe it is time for us to start making smaller, easier resolutions of much shorter duration. That way, instead of setting ourselves up for a year of failure, we set ourselves up for a half-hour of success! May I therefore propose we all write a list that looks something like this:
In the coming 30 minutes, I will...
—Not eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Although, if I eat down to the last spoonful at 9:29 and then polish off that last bite at 9:31, that's another story, right?
—Start an exercise regimen and begin by exercising my right to find a cool spot to rest my head on the pillow.
—Call my great-aunt! (Telepathically, that is.)
—Not smoke. (Not that I ever have.)
—Not sink into sloth and despair. (Not that I ever — oh, who cares?)
—Not tell any stupid jokes. (Not that — quick, before the resolution kicks in! What has four legs, is tiny and white and has a trunk? A mouse going on vacation!)
—Save for the future. And I will start by saving those leafy greens for dinner at some point next week.
—Put at least one thing away. Far away. Like my floss.
—Exercise self-control on all fronts, starting — whathasfourlegsisbrownandhasatrunk?AmousecomingBACKfromvacation — now.
—Get out of bed!
P.S. But if I don't, I won't beat myself up, because at least I'm awake and rarin' to go and ... leafy mouse ... four trunks... Happy New Yearzzzzzz.
Lenore Skenazy is host of the new show "World's Worst Mom" on the Discovery Life Channel, debuting Jan. 22. She is also a keynote speaker and author of the book and blog "Free-Range Kids." To find out more about Lenore Skenazy ([email protected]) and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.