Resolutions: the art of procrastination
By Larry Clifton
It was October of 2010 when I finally figured out why New Year’s Resolutions seldom worked out for me. Frankly, I figure making New Year’s Resolutions is the most celebrated art of procrastination in the world and such annual promises of good intentions cause weight gain and promote sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles for tens of millions of people who fall off the wagon.
So what are New Year’s Resolutions? That was a meant as a rhetorical question, but you’re exactly right. Planning New Year’s Resolutions is the formal process of putting off healthy lifestyle changes until next year, every year.
Once one dismisses the commercially promoted suggestion that he or she should wait until January to live healthier, they are immediately free to adopt habits, regimens and behaviors that improve their quality of life.
Of course many people do all the right things, all year, every year. For those cases I recommend therapy, but who knows, making New Year’s Resolutions may actually help.
On the other hand, prolonging an addition, holding off until next year to start eating healthier or postponing exercise may not be in the cards for others, so to speak.
For example, have you noticed more and more 50-something folks careening through large department stores each year on those scooters meant to aid the handicapped? The other day I saw a woman around 50 practically leap from a Target store scooter to nudge out an elderly woman eyeballing the same item on a shelf. It’s like watching someone pull into a handicapped parking spot and practically sprint to the store front.
Anyway, by 2010 I really started feeling the stronger pull of gravity as I chased down occasional errant baseballs thrown by my grandsons. Working on projects that required getting up and down created exaggerated exhalations from my un-exercised lungs and the extra 30 pounds I was lugging around was interfering with multiple aspects of my life. My weight peaked at 220-something pounds and at some point I thought galumphing through the local Home Depot and back to the parking lot was a long walk.
Once home, unloading heavy items produced groans or at least loud sighs like those one might imagine emanated from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s water boarding sessions.
I used to exercise – even had runners’ euphoria in the 1990s – but the big picture is that I was inconsistent through the years.
One bright day in October, 2010, I was cleaning out my garage so both of our cars would fit in it again. As I wiped a year’s dust off my plate weights and removed a couple garage towels from the wife’s Elliptical exercise machine, I remembered my 2009 New Year’s Resolutions. I was going to get into better shape and lose some weight.
I recalled the pressure that ensued each year after sharing my resolutions and the agony of defeat as the weight of my old habits returned and crushed my good intentions. In no time I was back in my favorite chair watching reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond after work instead of doing reruns on the Elliptical and using my plate weights.
After cleaning the garage that day I started using the various exercise devices that had taken up space in it for years. Without the pressure of New Year’s Resolutions I became consistent and eventually lost the extra pounds while reducing the volume of automatic grunts, sighs and groans expressed while getting up or sitting down.
For me, New Year’s resolutions are the epitome of procrastination - putting off what we need to do until next year. Unfortunately, we may not have the resolve to implement resolutions next year.
I think that’s what Eleanor Roosevelt meant when she said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present."