Resolve this

Michael McGuire

The abandoned New Year’s resolution train has officially been ridden to the max, and I will no longer abide.

Each year I can depend on completely tanking my resolutions, succeeding with the same assurance of the sun coming up and me having cakes on the griddle (thank God I’m a country boy). Why? Because I don’t take my own advice – which is to never play a game you know you can’t win. And I know I’m not alone in the New Years loser’s column – unless your counting the solo thumb wrestling matches I’ve attempted to swear off in consecutive years since Jan. 1, 2003 (.507 career winning percentage).

So assuming most of us fail, why make resolutions? It’s because we think we have to. More specifically, we think we have to make resolutions in some life changing, get-ourselves-out-of-a-rut kind of way – and we are really just lying to ourselves. Not to say no one should resolve to better their lives in the new year, maybe just reset the bar a little bit when doing so – alter a few rules of the game in your favor from the get-go. I mean whoever said, “new year: new person.” How about trying on this no-brainer, “new year: new underwear.”

I can hear you now, you’re saying “avoiding failure is not the answer, it’s just the solution given by those with negative attitudes.” Au contraire! Avoiding failure is positive, and you have to admit, it even sounds positive.

“What’s on the agenda today, McGuire?” the boss might ask.

“When I get back from lunch I plan on avoiding failure, after that I might send a fax – maybe make some phone calls.”

Which at that time my boss would follow-up with a hearty, “Atta boy, Mike.”
Talk is cheap however, and it only works on Fridays; we need to practice some real-life avoiding/bettering.

There are a number of ways you can upgrade yourself without really changing at all (very little at the most).

For beginners fresh off of last year’s disappointment bus, I recommend baby steps. Start simple, make this year’s resolution a sure fire bet, an in-the-bank winner. For example, resolve to do your laundry, feed your cat, make your bed, or consider giving that college loan payment a shot (don’t get carried away). There’s no sense trying to fix the world when you’ve got plenty of problems in the village, if you know what I’m saying. Trust me, a few of those cup-cake personal victories and you’ll be back on the fast track to Complacency Spas Hotel & Casino, with not a care in the world.

If your quitting skills are more advanced, I suggest the “do everything opposite” approach, made famous by George Costanza from Seinfeld. You’re already hardened by some bad beats, so why not take it all the way – what have you got to lose? If you stink at trying to do the right thing, maybe you’ll stink at trying to do the wrong thing too. If not, at least you’ll know you’re good at something.