Happy New Year: Resolving to be realistic

By Amanda Eakin

I propose a toast: here’s to the New Year as well as an awesome semester at Ashland University! I resolve to work out every day, cut down the caffeine, get more than an average of three hours’ sleep, continue to bulk up my résumé by adding at least four more activities to my schedule, fit in more time for friends, start working on a novel, master the art of French cooking and learn Swahili.

Does that all seem like a lot to you? Good, because it does to me too – it’s not happening.

At the start of the month, stands were littered with magazines that boasted ways to help you achieve your New Year’s goals, which most likely have to deal with weight or love or both – they seem disturbingly interrelated, after all (e.g. “Bring in the New Year, Bring in the New You!!” and “Ring in the New Year With a Ring!! How to Get Your Man to Seal the Deal”).

I recently heard a statistic that as many as 80 percent of people who make resolutions will break them. I’m shocked. I thought the number would be more like 99.99 percent. So kudos to the automatons who can sail through the year with resolutions still intact.

For the rest of us, I’d bet that at least 50 percent will go back to their old ways by February. Kind of makes you wonder why you’d even bother.

Personally, I at least think of some resolutions prior to January just for the sole purpose of what I call “small talk ammunition,” or issues to bring up during the numerous family holiday gatherings in which the topic of impending snow storms has already been exhausted.

But let’s assume you conceive of resolutions to actually better yourself. You want to start off the New Year spectacularly, with a renewed sense of optimism that the succeeding 12 months will be better than the last stale batch. Congratulations.

In that case, I would suggest not concocting a list of resolutions destined for a one-way track to epic failure. Maybe settle on only one, and be sure to keep at it. If you’re juggling five, it will only be a matter of time until you fall into the 80 percent statistic.

As previously noted, weight is a very common resolution subject. Let’s say, hypothetically, that according to your new list of personal amendments, you resolve to go on a “diet” that comprises mostly of jicama juice and leafy greens that vaguely remind you of your grandma’s tea doilies.

In addition (or really, subtraction), absolutely no sweets would be allowed. After all, according to your Glamour magazine, it said following these dietary guidelines could reduce your jean size two times faster than the toothbrush method!! (If you are unsure what I’m talking about, good for you.)

Common sense would suggest that this is a diet change that will barely last you a month, if you can even stomach it for that long. You know deep down that you are not going to continuously order jicama juice online for the rest of your life and you know you will not resist the siren song of cheesecake forever.

So then why set yourself up for failure? Resolve to do something you are willing to adopt as a lifestyle change, not just one year. Save specialty drinks at Starbucks for rare occasions and swap it with a plain latte or coffee. Skip the muffin. Do something feasible.

Besides, if it is any motivation, you might as well try to better yourself if 2012 just happens to be the apocalyptic year after all.

With that being said, here’s my resolution: I resolve to stop cracking lame doomsday jokes.