I've never been big on New Year's resolutions. I mean, why make promises I won't keep? How will I learn to trust others in this heartless world if I can't even trust myself? And I can't trust anyone who can't keep a New Year's resolution for even one stinking week. Which is a milestone I was never able to achieve.
It's like Lent. Back in the days when I tracked these things, I knew when Lent was coming and planned accordingly: no dessert for 40 days. Because I always look for the silver lining, I'd like to believe that my failure at Lent helped hone the skills of bending rules and lying to myself at which I'm so successful today. Hey, I finished dinner an hour ago, so this is a snack, not dessert.
Nora Ephron, my guiding light since her Esquire days in the '70s, has a much more practical approach to resolutions: she sets the bar really, really low. She resolves to eat more waffles, not read Proust and dump AOL once and for all. Wait, that last one has been proven to be virtually impossible. Well, the others seem attainable at least.
In her blog on huffingtonpost.com Ephron says: "I resolve to be a better human being this year, and that includes trying to remember the names of people I have just been introduced to." I'll try this one too! (I mean remembering names, not being a better human being.) I won't officially "resolve" it, because it's probably too hard for me to pull off. I'm famous for gazing cluelessly at people I've known for decades when expected to make introductions. But I'll try to implement one of those memory tricks you always hear about, like visualizing something that the name reminds you of. If only I met people named "Cindy Schnozz" or "Handsome McEyelashes" the name game would be a lot easier.
Anyway, in perusing videos about New Year's resolutions this past week, I've been alternately impressed and horrified at the things people resolve to do or not do, just because the annual calendar is adjusting by a digit. If you want to look better, find a mate, get organized, improve your vocabulary or make more money, why wait? Or, to argue the other side, if you didn't care enough to do it the other 364 days of the year, what makes now so different?
I guess my fatalistic attitude is that we are who we are, so let's not kid ourselves. If we do decide that a new year is cause for a new body/relationship/job, that doesn't mean we have to get all official about it, posting videos and telling the world about our current failings and longed-for future improvements. A few well-placed Post-Its on the fridge or bathroom mirror can help keep motivation up any time of year. And it's a lot less embarrassing if you haven't gone public with a resolution when December rolls around and nothing's changed.