“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
— C.S. Lewis
“I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ”
― Anaïs Nin
Did you make resolutions for the new year? Have you already given up on them?
After years of trying, I have decided that January first is not the optimal time to change your life philosophy. Too much holiday and new year madness. But perhaps the start of a new season is a good time to consider some reasonable changes to your life.
I wrote back in 2013 about new year resolutions by using some advice from others via quotations. I erred them as the equinox slid into place last night and the advice still seems valid – but I also have taken a new approach to resolutions. More about that in a bit…
That C.S. Lewis quote at the top is happily optimistic – more so than Lucy Montgomery (who wrote Anne of Green Gables) who said “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” which might be optimistic, but could be said in a sarcastic way too.
My new approach to a resolution, whether it starts with the new year, a new season or any time between, is to think small, practical and doable.
“The fall of dripping water hollows the stone,” said Lucretius and he’s correct that small things can over time make big differences.
I don’t suggest that you make a “doable” resolution that is self-conning. Many years ago, the faculty that I was a part of was asked by the administration to come with a personal goal for the new school year. We were told it should be something important to us and something that was doable and measurable. One of the more sarcastic members (not me!) immediately said he knew what his resolution would be: “To become more tolerant of administrative stupidity.”
My new direction in resolutions this year also came from a generally sarcastic source: Larry David of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame. The character of “Larry David” on the latter show is very sarcastic, but the real larry is said to be much different. I saw him interviewed on a talk show in January and he was asked about new year resolutions. He said he had not believed in them but that in the past few years he has made more reasonable ones and stuck to them.
My first thought was that he would say something like the sarcastic faculty member. In a similar way, as a child growing up Catholic, we were asked to give up something for Lent. Some friend would always say they were giving up something like broccoli which they already hated. Make it easy. But that’s not the point.
Larry gave two of his recent resolutions and I immediately bought into his approach. One was “Pee before you leave. ” As a new senior citizen, I can really identify with this. It’s just good advice, but advice I often do not follow myself and then I regret it when I get into traffic on Route 3 heading into the Lincoln Tunnel to New York City. When you have the chance, use the bathroom.
His second resolution was “Make two trips.” We try to grab everything from the car or the table or your desk to carry elsewhere and we end up dropping things, pulling a muscle or something even worse. Why? Just make two trips.
I learned this lesson the hard way back in December. I was walking down the stairs in my home and juggling in both hands a cup of tea, my iPhone, a magazine and my slippers. Therefore, I did not hang on to the railing on the way down. As I neared the bottom, I lost my footing and went face forward into the air. I recall it all in slow motion. The tea also flew as did the cup, smashing ahead of me. Unbelievably, stupidly, I still remember thinking “Slide the phone on the floor ahead of me” which I miraculous did at the expense of my knees, wrists, and face. Flat out I went. Luckily, no long-term injuries. Lesson learned. make two trips. Also, Always Use the Handrails.
Of course, right now grabbing handrails is frowned upon as dirty, germ and virus-loaded places. Which leads right into another spring resolution which we should all have and which should continue long after: Wash your hands every opportunity you get with soap and warm water. It’s just a good, reasonable, doable resolution. And those are the best kind.