Slouching Toward 2012: I Resolve…

It may seem a bit late to be discussing New Year’s resolutions, but they never should be undertaken in a holiday haze of eggnog and Jack Daniel’s—the euphoria of mercantile excess. They better are considered in the promising dawn of the New than the receding accusations of the Old.

How exactly to craft your commitment to the Universe? What to take on, tackling not too much as to fail, yet not so little as to invite ridicule?

“I will write more on my novel” is grand, but metastasizes to grandiosity in the cold light of the reality that you didn’t write a line in 2010. “More”? Typing “Chapter 2” neither will hold up in your inner Court of Ethics, nor survive the beady-eyed scrutiny of those who know your nugatory work habits.

As you read this, we’ll be well into the first month of an already-diminished 2011, so you can take some relief in realizing by starting this late to make a resolution, you already have that many fewer days to fail.

So, take out your pad and pencil. If you still use either of those tools, you just might resolve to cave in, and buy a smart phone. Then, learn to use it.

If that was last year’s resolution, and the thing’s interred in your kitchen junk drawer, pick up your pencil, grit your teeth, and note what level of resolution you wish to achieve: “Stellar”? “Outstanding”? “Capable”? “Competent”? Perhaps “Adequate” is a more sanguine choice.

But adequate at what? The reason people announce a New Year’s resolution is not to improve themselves, but to have moral, higher-ground-than-thou bragging rights over others—those who are aware you haven’t begun Chapter Two of your novel.

The delicate line here is choosing a goal that is attainable, yet will impress them. “I will make my bed every morning” has the potentially double drawbacks of being neither attainable, nor—should you actually realize it—granting you any social cachet.

What achievement, performed as promised and adequately, would elicit cheers, and swath your brow in laurels?

I personally have not found such a one—yet—but by putting off a commitment long enough, you finally will breach 2011’s Winter Solstice, and once again be too caught up in holiday consumption to take on any weighty commitments. Whew!

Now, with a hoist of frozen eggnog and Jack, pay it forward to 2012.

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