Thursday, December 29, 2011

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS: Unsolicited, Unwanted, and Maybe-Even-Not-Very-Good Advice

 By Chad Morris

We probably all ate more than our share of candy after Halloween, gorged ourselves on Thanksgiving, and noticed that many of the Christmas pleasantries aren’t exactly nutritious (for example, a cup of eggnog has 17 grams of fat, 45 grams of sugar, 745 million calories, and 1/37 of an egg). Therefore, tradition is that as the new year rolls in, we all write long lists of resolutions. And of course it is required by law for everyone to include either “lose weight” or “get in better shape” on that list. You never hear, “this year my resolution is to put bacon and cream cheese on everything.”

And to kick off all of our lofty resolutions, we celebrated New Year’s Eve. Unless your goals included partying like a wild child of the night, eating large amounts of junk, and sleeping in past noon, you probably started the year off a little counterproductively.

And if you’re anything like me, you may give you resolutions a good shot for a few days after that, before giving up entirely. In fact, I looked up the definition for the word “resolution” and the entry read,

     resolution (n) A determined plan of action that . . . um . . . well . . . I started off strong there . . . but what was I doing? Let me get back to . . . Oh look, fudge!

No, seriously.

     The word resolution comes from the Latin resolutus which means “a plan of action one is determined to follow, unless you didn’t write it down. Then it was just a wish. So you might as well . . . Oh look, fudge!”

No, really seriously this time. We can do this. We can make goals and achieve them. Joan of Arc didn’t know the meaning of the word “quit.” Napoleon never said die. Of course, that’s mostly because neither one of them spoke English. But that doesn’t change the fact that we can do this.

Before we go planning out our 2012, I would like to warn you. When people think of self-improvement they are sometimes tempted to compare themselves to those around them. And if you’re like me, you have neighbors that play 5 different musical instruments, fix their own cars, have their PhDs, trim their hedges to portray famous people in history, exercise at least every hour, and in their spare time translate the unabridged Les Miserables into rare African dialects and hand stitch bandages for the lepers in Russia. I might have exaggerated a little, but they are relentlessly good! However, most of us have to realize that if we try to keep up with these people it will lead to a small family of hernias.

Therefore, I suggest simplifying things. As I was pondering this counsel, I was reminded of a true story. Once in Salt Lake City, a woman sought Brigham Young’s advice. Her husband told her to “go to heck” (censored for those who may have a resolution not to speak or read vulgar language) and she didn’t know what to do. The Mormon prophet's response was brief and wise and my inspiration for my resolution. He responded, “don’t.” I think that is some solid counsel. Therefore, no matter how long and exhaustive, or short and pathetic your list of resolutions is, I recommend “don’t go to heck” should be somewhere toward the top.

Anyway, as I say goodbye, remember to be tireless and determined. Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, no never give up.” And Confucius taught “A bird without vision is like a strand of seaweed floating aimlessly in a sea of . . . Oh look fudge!”


  1. I think if I had neighbors like yours I would move :) I wonder if your neighbors look at you and Shelly in similar awe. You both write fiction, act in a comedy troupe, are hilarious, hop nob with celebrities like Brandon Mull, Shelly just cut off all her hair for cancer research...I don't think I can live by you either :)

  2. Love this post. Definitely don't go to heck. And I love that BY was telling that woman--in a day when women were expected to do what their husbands told them--not to do what her husband told her. Very wise man. ROFL

    Happy New Year!

  3. I think one of the greatest lessons I learned was the importance of self-comparison - not comparison to others. Am I better now than I was sort of thing.

    I think you should toilet paper your neighbors, just to remind them of how the real world is...

  4. I'm getting out the toilet paper now--Thanks for another resolution Tasha.

  5. Don't go to heck is excellent advice. Thanks!

  6. Too funny...
    And I agree with Angie Cothran. You're neighbors have nothing on you and Shelly :)


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