In the past I have made unrealistic resolutions, almost daring myself to live up to them. That won't happen this year.
I realized recently that the reason my list of resolutions didn't work in years past is because all of the resolutions were absolute. I didn't make any provisions for when the resolution was voided.
I hereby resolve to make hot, nutritious, low calorie meals each and every day in 2012. This resolution will be voided if I am the only one home for dinner. It is cheaper and much more efficient to hop in the car and see what Rey Azteca's or the Pine Grill have to offer.
I hereby resolve to exercise when I have the time. I am not going to put an actual allotment of time, like every day or every week, on this resolution because I lead a pretty hectic life and there may not be time in my schedule to do this. I don't want to make promises that I can't keep.
I hereby resolve to stop being argumentative. It is not imperative that everyone think and believe in everything that I think and believe in. This resolution will be null and void when someone is deliberately baiting me, when I am right about an issue or if there isn't any chocolate in the house.
I hereby resolve to speak only in a calm, rational, and thoughtful manner at all times. My dream is that I will actually develop a lyrical tone to my speech.
I hereby resolve to stop gossiping. I cannot, however, stop others from passing on juicy bits of information in my presence. This makeover is only directed at me. I cannot make the whole world perfect. Just me.
I hereby resolve to learn the value of a dollar. (This one is kind of cheating since I already know that one dollar, plus six cents, equals a McDonald's sweet tea – but I am putting it in the list to impress my husband, anyhow.)
I hereby resolve to clean up hot messes as soon as I see them instead of waiting until there are at least four of them, so that I can point out to everyone in the house exactly what a valuable asset I am and what hogs they are. This is void if the hot mess happens while I am otherwise occupied with The Voice, Storage Wars or The Closer and cannot be disturbed.
I hereby resolve to use at least two coupons on every trip to the grocery store so that I will be known as a thrifty shopper by all members of my family unless I leave the house in a terrible hurry because there is not one piece of chocolate in the house.
I hereby resolve to say nothing out loud, only to smile to myself, quietly, when others are making stupid mistakes. In the case of my kids and my husband, of course, this resolution is null and void. (If I didn't put in this provision, I would never be able to talk again. And believe me, I would be smiling to myself every minute of the day.)
That is my list. I know I said I would stop bossing people around but if you write in your null and void provisions, your life will be so much happier. You won't have to worry about keeping all of the impossible goals that tradition has forced upon you. Don't argue, just do it.
Have a safe and happy and guilt-free new year.
(You can reach Janet Good, Somerset, at any time of the day or night simply by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)