Tuesday is the 49th day of 2020. With 13% of the year already gone, how are you doing with the New Year’s resolutions you made seven weeks ago?
If you’re like many Americans — including me — you broke your vows within 48 hours of yelling “Happy New Year.”
Without getting into specifics, my resolutions involved using inappropriate language within earshot of my grandchildren. I went through the proper steps to formalize them — public announcement, arranging support and agreeing to penalties for whenever I failed.
I made it 18.3 hours. Then I sat down to watch the news and accidentally caught part of the impeachment proceedings.
Me • “Will you please, for the love of God, shut up!”
Her • “Uh-oh, you said ‘shut up.’ I’m telling Grammy.”
Me • “Honey, it doesn’t count. I said it to Congress …”
Her • “Grammy!”
I’m not alone. People sometimes referred to as scientists — but whom many of us regard as witches — say that few New Year’s resolutions last longer than two weeks. This is especially true of exercise and weight loss goals.
A major part of the problem is expecting too much of oneself. For example, say your goal this year is to look every bit as beautiful as Natalie Portman. You promise to work hard, diet, exercise, get a bit of cosmetic surgery (if necessary) and anything else. You’re serious this time.
There’s just one problem. You are setting yourself up for failure, especially — and this is important — if you currently look like me. Not only will it take longer than a year, but also the only thing Natalie and I will ever have in common is we both require oxygen to get through the day.
The answer to failing, according to idiots, is baby steps. Please. You could crawl on your belly from here to Yemen and you aren’t ever going to look like Natalie unless you already do. Be satisfied with just being a new and improved version of yourself.
Another reason that resolutions fail is that too often they’re based on something that we don’t enjoy doing to accomplish the goal — exercising, starving, saving money, thinking before we speak, etc.
The secret is to put some actual thought rather than wishing into the resolution. If the plan is to exercise, don’t pick an exercise you hate.
Thanks to years of serious immaturity, I have a collection of metal pins holding my legs together. So I don’t much like running unless it’s away from a slow carnivore or a church committee. But I can row, bike and even saunter a bit.
I actually like the rowing machine. Plug in some Joe Bonamassa and I can lose weight while pretending to play backup for Joe in London’s Royal Albert Hall. I’m old, sweaty and out of breath when I return to reality, but it’s worth it every time.
Don’t give up just because you’ve experienced a few setbacks. A resolution should last the entire year even if you sometimes fail. You can always get back on board.
I forgot my resolution again the other day while telling the dog to stop barking at the UPS guy. It was overheard by a grandkid. I paid for the temporary setback.
In just another five hours, I can take off this damn duct tape.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.