As yet another year draws to a close, I, like many, find myself taking stock of my life. 2010 offered a lot of change for me. Much of it good, like selling my business and discovering Caroline was pregnant again. Some was not so good, like the death of my sister. Life is a collection of such watershed moments. And as one year draws to a close, we look to the next one with hope—hope that it will go better, hope that we’ll navigate all of our watershed moments more effectively than we did this past year.
The hangover of the holiday season is the perfect time for such reflection, the perfect time to come up with a game plan. And I’ve almost come up with mine. But to help me along, I first read what others had to say about the changing of the years.
Oscar Wilde once said: “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” And that’s exactly what I don’t want my resolutions to be this year. I want them to be realistic, not some pipe dream I have no business thinking I can achieve.
So, in that vein, I know where to start. With the word resolution, itself. It sounds so dire, don’t you think? Resolve is what you need to survive while stranded on a desert island. Is it really what I need when trying to make some simple life tweaks? My first resolution is to nix the word resolution. I’m going with goals. New Year’s Goals. There. I feel better already.
Eric Zorn, of the Chicago Tribune, had this to say about the new year. “Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.” I’m with him until the very end. But, then again, that’s part of the reason why I changed the name to goals. Because if I fail, I won’t be breaking anything. I’ll simply be falling a bit short of a goal. The fact that I had a goal to begin with will likely mean much progress will have been made.
Jay Leno once said, “Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average… which means, you have met your New Year’s resolution.” While I love it, and while I do intend to shed a few pounds in 2011 via a return to regular exercise, I refuse to make this one of my goals. Fitness is a lifestyle. Not a New Year’s Goal.
Leonard Bernstein said, “From New Year’s on the outlook brightens; good humor lost in a mood of failure returns. I resolve to stop complaining.” And while I like the sentiment behind it, I’m gonna keep right on bitching this year. Just like everyone else.
Oddly, it was Oprah Winfrey whose quote spoke to me the most: “Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” I’m not super big on ol’ Oprah, but I’ll give the woman her due. Not only is she savvy as all get out, she also nailed what the new year represents to me. A chance to get it right. And that’s where I’m going to leave it, for now. My New Year’s Goal is to get it right.
I’ll surely have a more specific goal to help me do this. It seems to me that if I am really to get it right, I’ll need a bunch of time. And with a fifth child on the way, goodness knows that a great deal of my time will already be spoken for, so it’ll be even more important to manage what little, if any, I have left. Hmmm. Maybe my New Year’s Goal will be along the lines of better time management…you know, like eliminating frivolity. Or at least some of it. Surely more time would help me get it right in 2011, right?
Yes. Time management. That’s where I’ll most definitely focus. Better time management will help my life go better.
OH. And something else will, too. A huge, heaping helping of black-eyed peas. Because if I’m gonna finally get this thing right after 41 years of trying, I’m gonna need all the luck I can get.
What are your New Year’s resolutions this year? Do you have any New Year’s quotes you care to add?