Resolution 2016: Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick

It is tempting not to make a New Year’s resolution, as statistics show that most of us do not keep our self-made decrees much past the time it takes to declare them. I was quite ready to not make any declaration for the new year until I read my horoscope this morning in the local daily. I want to believe that there are people who can foretell the future but my serious self has trouble making that leap. But if you actually read your horoscope, you may garner a bit of general wisdom that you can use despite having your feet firmly planted on the ground (we are allowed to look to the heavens on occasion aren’t we?).

So, without further ado, this is my resolution taken straight out of the last line of my horoscope derived from the heavens by Eugenia Last for January 4th, 2016: “Say little, but do a lot.” I love this. So short. So sweet. And so (I am looking for another “s” word here): succinct (yes, I did use my computer thesaurus—what we do in the name of alliteration.) Anyway, I love it. For many reasons. But the main reason it resonates with me is the fact that I have a theory, or a superstition if you will, that if you talk about something too much, then you may not carry through with it. Sort of like “speak softly but carry a big stick” (attributed to *Theodore Roosevelt), my new resolution for the year, “say a little, but do a lot” carries a seriously powerful and substantial message. My “speak softly” is to “say a little” and my “big stick” which I hope to wield often, is to “do a lot.”

Will I be successful? Who knows? But at least I have found a new mantra for the year. My next best approach to making a resolution or two, or ten is to take a page out of Michael Ian Black’s book. The stand-up comedian (and actor, director and author) was on CBS This Morning on Sunday and said that his resolutions will not be broken, as he is resolving to do things in the new year that he already does. Hence no formula for failure here.
I like his approach. He will not become one of those statistics that from my reading range widely from 34% (who break their resolutions by the end of January) to 64% ( who break theirs by the end of July), to the worst statistic of all given by the new editor of Canadian Living magazine. She says that 94% of us will break our resolutions. She gave no specific deadline, but her statistic is ominous enough without one.

So what are Mr. Black’s resolutions? Number one is to keep eating pizza every Friday night. His kids love it, and as he says, and I am willing to believe, how could something that tastes so good have calories? Number 2 is “not to jog”. He does not jog now and he has no wish to ever jog. So far a man after my own heart—I can keep eating pizza and not jog with the best of them.

His third resolution is to keep buying his wife extravagant gifts at the expense of contributing to his retirement fund. I am right there with you Michael. I believe all husbands should give their wives extravagant gifts. And I have my eye on a Costco shopping cart for my retirement. They are really big and will hold a lot of stuff when I become a bag lady extraordinaire and take up residence outside our local library in my retirement.

His last resolution is one I cannot really relate to—but I understand his premise. He is going to keep complaining about his favourite sports teams. He figures that complaining about their failures will keep his mind off his own and he will feel better about himself, which he says will keep him smiling throughout 2016.

So if I were to make some resolutions along the lines of Michael’s I would:

1. keep on not making my bed in the morning (I am ubersuccessful at this).
2. continue to keep writing this column even though I wonder: “Who reads it?”
3. not jog (ever)
4. read more (boy, this one was a hard one to make!)

Happy New Year. And no matter which statistic you fall into I hope your resolution lasts past January 31st. And if it doesn’t? You should not have made it anyway.

*I am aware that I used Roosevelt’s wisdom for my own means

Published in: on January 6, 2016 at 1:46 pm  Comments (9)