Research has shown that worldwide, more than 3 billion people make New Year’s resolutions, but who really keeps them? My guess: about 16 people. Most vows to eat more fiber, hire a personal trainer and open a retirement account get dropped faster than cell reception in an elevator. Maybe we’re just aiming too high.
I say, make resolutions, but keep them reasonable. Make the kind of resolutions you will want to keep. Here are some that have worked for me:
1. Spend Less Time with Family & Friends
Over the holidays, millions of people will plan to spend more time with family and friends. At the same time, suicide prevention hot lines light up as people realize they cannot stand one more second with cousins and aunts who drive you insane with their guilt-tripping barbs, chewing with their mouths open, or tippling too much from the Jim Beam. If you are like 99 percent of the world’s population with “problem” relatives, vowing to spend less time with them ought to be a snap and reduce your blood pressure.
2. Become a Power Napper
These days, any 2nd grader can spew a long list of benefits of exercise. It takes a sophisticated mind to grasp the remarkable perks of a daily snooze. Why jog to lower blood pressure when you can get the same effect from a daily snoozle? Regular naps are linked to better mood, more focused thinking, and a fail-safe way to skip out of boring department meetings at 2 p.m. Besides, you can’t snack on a glazed donut when you nap (trust me, I’ve tried it) so napping also helps you lose weight. Why not make this the year you stop the charade of joining the gym and just buy an ergonomically correct pillow for the office instead?
3. Toss Your Bathroom Scale
Weight Watchers meetings throughout the world will be stampeded in January with repentant pudgy-wudgies standing in line to be weighed by a thin person. You, however, will be ahead of the game by not weighing yourself ever! In today’s high tech world, you can hardly even find a scale that doesn’t also give you aggravation by speaking your weight to you, in addition to announcing your body mass index and the day’s price of cattle futures. Look, if your clothes are getting too tight, you’ve gained weight. Isn’t that simple enough?
4. Add Some Guilt to Your Life
This tip is not as fun as the others, but guilt is a highly underrated emotion. Especially in today’s selfie-obsessed culture, the worldwide guilt shortage is even more acute than climate change. Experts predict that by 2025, Los Angeles may be submerged under 75 feet of egotism and breathtaking swellheadedness. If you cut people off in traffic, were snippy with a customer service rep who was powerless to help you, or made a snide remark to your spouse or best friend, you should feel a little guilty! I think a little more judiciously apportioned guilt would go a long way to a more civilized society. And if you have an overabundance of guilt but know someone whose arrogant behavior shows he or she is sorely lacking, go ahead and share. It’ll do you both good.
5. Resist the Temptation to Get Organized
January is National Get Organized Month, but if you succumb to this annual lure, you are likely to be visited by a professional organizer wielding threatening weapons such as color-coded file folders, drawer dividers, and, in severe cases, paper shredders. I once had an organizer make me clean my desk, but the sight was so unnerving I couldn’t think straight. Being disorganized makes you relatable to normal people. As I always claim, I’m not messy. I’m a genius.
6. Spend More Money
You’ve got all year to get a handle on your finances. January is the time when that intoxicating word, “Clearance,” is dangled provocatively everywhere you shop. Avoiding a good sale isn’t only bad money management, it’s bad for the economy.
7. Read More Celebrity Gossip
The lives of most celebrities are extravagantly shallow, silly, manic-depressive, drugged, and frequently illegal. All the more reason to bone up on their misadventures and be grateful that God didn’t make you a celebrity, too.
8. Don’t Travel to Exotic Destinations
Even before the Ebola crisis, I never went anywhere that required shots. Who needs the stress? If you have a wanderlust, go someplace safe, such as the Kern River Valley Turkey Vulture Festival or the Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Anyone can find thrills in Machu Pichu; but it takes authentic joie de vivre and imagination to find excitement looking at turkey vultures or at a festival celebrating fungus.
Remember, the key to sticking with any New Year’s resolutions is to keep your goals reasonable and to stay motivated. Here’s to success in 2015!