Research has shown that worldwide, more than 3 billion people make New Year’s resolutions, but sadly, only about 16 people actually keep them. Most avowals to eat more fiber, hire a personal trainer and finally claw your way out of debt get dropped faster than a cell phone call in an elevator. Since these efforts at self-improvement are so tough, maybe we’re just aiming too high.
And so, in keeping with an era where we have all become accustomed to lowered expectations in every area of life, please consider my list of resolutions for 2012. Last year, most of these worked for me, and I hope they work for you, too.
Spend Less Time with Family & Friends
More than half of people surveyed claim they plan to spend more time with family and friends during the New Year, yet no one dares touch on that thorny problem of annoying and pesky relatives, like wheezy Uncle Joe who has stiffed you in the birthday present department since you were a kid, or that in-law who can never resist telling you that you appear to look a little more porky since the last time she saw you. If you are like 99 percent of the world’s population with “problem” relatives, vowing to spend less time with them ought to be a snap.
Become a Power Napper
Any nitwit celebrity can spew a long list of benefits of exercise, but it takes a more sophisticated mind to grasp the remarkable perks of a daily snooze. Jogging isn’t the only thing that can lower blood pressure, you know. Regular naps have been associated with better mood, more focused thinking, and a fail-safe way to skip out of boring department meetings at 2 p.m. Besides, you can’t snack when you nap (trust me, I’ve tried it) so napping also helps you lose weight. Why not make this the year you stop the charade of joining the gym, and just buy a pillow for the office instead?
Toss Your Bathroom Scale
That’s right. While Weight Watchers meetings throughout the world will be stampeded in January with millions of repentant pudgy-wudgies standing in line to be weighed by a thin person, you will be ahead of the game by not weighing yourself ever! After all, in today’s high tech world, it’s hard to even find a scale that doesn’t also talk to you and give you bad news, such as your body mass index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. If there’s one thing I don’t need, it’s a talking scale. Do you?
Add Some Guilt to Your Life
Guilt is a highly underrated emotion, something that Jews like me understand from birth. The guilt shortage across the planet is even more acute than global warming. Experts predict that by 2025, New York may be submerged under thirty feet of egotism and breathtaking swellheadedness. This is where Jews like me can help. Once we convince non-Jews of the benefits of a heavy conscience, they may worry that they are running a little low on this feeling. Then, in the spirit of universal kinship, we offer to share our own, balancing the cultural guilt distribution just a tad. Would it kill you to give up some of that guilt?
Resist the Temptation to Get Organized
January is National Get Organized Month, but if you succumb to this annual lure, you are likely to be visited by a professional organizer wielding threatening weapons, such as color-coded file folders, drawer dividers, and, in severe cases, paper shredders. I once had an organizer clean my desk, but the sight was so unnerving I couldn’t think straight. Being disorganized makes you relatable to normal people. Besides, as I’ve claimed for years, I’m not messy: I’m a genius.
Go Spend More Money
You’ve got all year to get a handle on your finances. January is the time when that intoxicating word, “Clearance,” is dangled suggestively everywhere you shop. Avoiding a good sale isn’t only bad money management, it’s keeping the economy from roaring back. And do you want that on your conscience, too?
Read More Celebrity Gossip
Sure, the lives of most famous celebrities are shallow, silly, frequently illegal and usually, train wrecks. All the more reason to bone up on their misadventures and be grateful that God didn’t make you a celebrity, too.
Don’t Travel to Exotic Destinations
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to travel anywhere that requires shots. It just sounds too dangerous. If you insist on making travel part of your New Year’s plans, at least make it somewhere safe, say, for example, the Kern River Valley Turkey Vulture Festival or the Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. After all, it takes no special talent to find thrills in Machu Pichu, but it takes authentic joie de vivre to find excitement studying turkey vultures or at a festival celebrating fungus.
Remember, the key to sticking with any New Year’s resolutions is to keep your goals reasonable and to stay motivated. Here’s to success in 2012!
Judy Gruen is the author of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools, as well as several award-winning humor books. Read more of her work on www.judygruen.com.