My friend, Steve Rhinehart, remarked that the only things broken with more fervor and regularity than New Year’s Resolutions are the Ten Commandments. I submitted that breaking New Year’s Resolutions probably did not annoy God nearly as much as breaking one or more of His commandments. Steve’s response was, “I’m not so sure about that. I think God is pretty much sold on the idea of ‘To thine own self be true.’ Since the Commandments are imposed upon us, breaking them may be sin, but when you break a resolve that you impose upon yourself, I think He regards that as pretty serious.” Steve may just be right.
Probably the most resolved and, as a result, the most frequently broken is “I resolve to quit smoking.” I am personally acquainted with that one, having made and broken it at least two dozen times during the almost 50 years that I was a slave to the nicotine god. I was finally able to break free 14 years ago, not so much due to a resolution as to the realization that I could no longer walk from the bedroom to the kitchen without stopping to catch my breath.
There are a number of evasions available to a smoker after making the resolve. “I’ll wait until after the weekend. Then I won’t have as much free time on my hands.” “Wait, it’s Monday morning. You know how much pressure I am under on Monday. I probably need the cigarettes to keep my blood pressure down.” ‘Well, dang! I smoked that first one before I remembered I am quitting. I’ll get a fresh start tomorrow.” “It’s the weekend. It’s time to relax. I don’t want the hassle of trying to quit smoking to ruin my weekend.” And so it goes, until you are able to forget the resolution altogether, like sometime in mid to late January.
I have several friends who work in gyms, or as personal fitness trainers. They look forward to this time of year. The membership sales double or triple at this time of year. Along with “I resolve to lose (x) pounds,” or “I resolve to get in shape,” goes the obligatory membership in an organization set up to help you achieve that goal.
Don’t get me wrong. The use of these facilities does not dramatically increase in keeping with the increase in membership. Here is where the plan goes awry for most of us. Just joining the gym, or signing up with a personal trainer, does not get the job done.
You actually have to get off your rump and go the facility and exercise! Alas, there are as many evasions for this one as for quitting smoking. “I don’t feel very good today.” “I need to get some exercise clothes.” “I just ate, so it’s not a good time.” “I have so much going on now, it is impossible to find time for the gym.”
By the first of February, this resolution is on the back burner. Of course, the gym, or personal trainer, is happy. They got your money and you still have a pot gut, or a rear the size of VW trunk. They also know that the same cycle will be repeated next January.
In my all-knowing capacity, I have come up with a list of resolutions for a few people we all know.
Cobb County Commission Chairman, Tim Lee: I resolve to put the failed TSPLOST out of my mind and work toward replacing the confiscatory property tax, which puts the burden on successful people, with a sales tax, which spreads the burden among all residents.
Cobb County School Board: We resolve to refocus our efforts toward the job we were elected to do, which is seeing to the education of our children, instead of bickering and fighting about tangent issues.
It’s 2013! Happy New Year!
Pete Borden lives in east Cobb.