When you’re my age (don’t ask) your resolutions don’t come by the year.
They come by the day.
As in I hope to merely get out of bed without limping.
For most, though, New Year’s resolutions arrive at this time of year like overzealous door-to-door sales folks sweating out commissions.
Never mind that by the time you read this, most of the promises – buffing up at the gym, mastering a new language, getting more organized – will have been abandoned, much like that New Year’s Eve party hat you tossed the second day of January.
Take sports anchor and host John Rhadigan. He wrote in an email reply to the resolution question that he resolves not to let his emotions take over when the Rangers win or lose.
“Scratch that,” he added. “Won’t happen.
Then he resolved not to believe the Cowboy’s pre-season hype and not to watch so many games when he’s not working, both of which he scratched out as well.
“Oh, what the heck,” he said, finally. “Eat less and exercise more.”
There you go.
Only about nine percent of people follow through on their resolutions, according to those who research this sort of thing. About 43 percent give up by the end of January and 23 percent call it quits by the end of the first week.
Many who make an about-face blame a lack of time or resources, but mostly it’s motivation. The majority are said to give up within one to six weeks of starting, only to try the same resolution the next year.
“I think too many people make their resolutions unrealistic,” is how Ginger Wright put it. She knows because she did it year after year until it hit her that she was wasting her time and sanity. I caught Wright strolling through downtown.
“Three years ago, it was to travel more, to see the world, that sort of thing,” said the Arlington native who works as a bank executive in Euless. “It turned out that my job schedule wouldn’t allow me large chunks of time, and when I did get the time, all I felt like doing was destressing on my couch.”
Later I run into Mycah and Michael Jay leaving Inclusion Coffee. He works for Discount Tire in Haltom City. She’s a graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington, majoring in Kinesiology.
“I want to cook at home more and eat out less,” Michael said. “I suppose that sounds a bit incredulous seeing that we’re walking out of a coffee shop.”
“Resolutions start the first day of January,” Mycah piped in, laughing. “So, we’re good.”
Mycah can’t remember a resolution she has kept.
“When I was in college, one of mine was to wake up before noon every day,” Michael said. “I managed to keep that one.”
Sarah Harris, watching her four-year-old play with blocks at the downtown library, laughs at the thought of making resolutions because hers tend to fall apart by mid-January.
“Lose some weight, that’s mine,” Harris said. “But I’m already thinking about January and making excuses why I won’t be able to find the time to do it.”
Some people said an accountability system would help. Like making a resolution pact with someone else who pushes you, and you them.
“You know what the other problem is, though?” Wright said. “There’s an absence of why we make resolutions. The why is what motivates people to take action and achieve goals. I think resolutions have become a traditional thing, like going to a New Year’s Eve Party even though you’d rather stay at home and watch that crap on TV.”
Wellness and health guru Kenyon Godwin, of Active Family Wellness, doesn’t do resolutions but “renewals,” which I get. Wright’s resolution: “I’m renewing my commitment to my health; mind, body, and spirit. This includes saying “no” more, consistently exercising, and spending more time with friends.”
Me? I’ve been quite successful. Years ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution to stop making them.
I’ve kept it ever since.
Kenneth Perkins has been a contributing writer for Arlington Today for nearly a decade. He is a freelance writer, editor and photographer.