The house is covered in confetti and half filled glasses. Plates with the hardened remains of hors devours are crushed and piled into the garbage bag, which should have gone out hours before. The dog is the not the only mammal asleep on your floor. Hungover and bloated, you stumble towards the fridge, hoping there’s some Pedialyte left from the last time your kids had a stomach bug, and swear that this year, things will be different.
And thus is the birth of the New Year’s Resolution.
Some say you shouldn’t make resolutions because they are disingenuous. The promise of a new and better you simply because a large sparkly ball fell from the sky as a crowd counted down to one seems foolish and delusional.
Others look at it as an opportunity to make the changes that you have been wanting to make all year. The infamous weight loss goals, the clean eating, the temperance movement that makes its way through liquor cabinets every January. Last January, I went to the grocery store on New Year’s Day only to find that there were no vegetables left. Only a stray moldy tomato remained.
If a resolution is important, if it is something that really needs to be accomplished, it will. If you want something bad enough, you will get it. If you are truly determined to lose 100 lbs, or stop eating carbs and drinking your weight in wine, you should be able to start on a random Tuesday in April at 2 pm and be successful. The thing is, you won’t. There is no momentum to be found on Tuesdays in April. Or Mondays, or even Saturdays for that matter. The momentum that drives people to make resolutions at the New Year is from a collective decision that we can all reach our goals by being hungry together.
The same applies to other resolutions. Spending more time with your children and less time on your cell phone. Calling friends to talk instead of learning about their lives on Facebook. Taking the dog for a daily walk even when it’s raining. Drinking less coffee and more water. They are doable, if you can just get the pendulum swinging and keep it swinging long enough to get that whole perpetual motion thing going.
I love New Year’s resolutions. I love them not because I accomplish them, but because they make me think that change is possible. A resolution gives me a focus in a positive direction, a bulleted to-do list, that makes me feel empowered and, well, resolute. No more wishy-washy whining about pants not fitting and not enough money and why have we still not gotten that fixed. Resolution time is doing time. A jump start. A kick in the pants. A lit match under one’s person when said person has been sitting for a bit too long.
Everyone needs a fresh start. It is one of the things that I loved about being a teacher. Our new year’s resolutions happened in September. Each and every year, I had the opportunity to start with a clean slate, be a better teacher, change things that didn’t work, add things that I thought might. It infused me with energy, the possibility that things could be better this go around. And usually, in one way or another, they were.
That, essentially, is why I make resolutions. The possibility for positive change is hanging there, ripe on the branch and ready to be picked. I’d be a fool not to grab that juicy piece of fruit.
A new year is waiting. The fruit is in my hand.
I can eat it, or chuck it at one of the runners I can see through the window as I sit on the sofa. Oh the possibilities.