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A guide to rationalizing New Year’s resolutions
New Year’s resolutions are good—for other people. You see, every January 1, Baby New Year arrives at my house bearing a permission slip: “Colleen’s conscience has cramps, and she is excused from fulfilling her resolutions this year.”
Indeed, this is the season in which I grab my very best intentions and dash them upon the rocky shores of reality. But you can’t blame me: I live in Charleston, a mecca of year-round food, fun, and frivolity. And all of those indulgent attributes come to a heart-racing, head-pounding crescendo around December 31, dumping me—unceremoniously—in the bright winter light of January. I resolve, then, to live humbly and healthily, here in Shangri-La. I make this pact with myself, knowing full well that I am not to be trusted.
On top of it all, I was born with a strange talent for equivocation. While this can be a real asset in the world of politics, child-rearing, or traffic court, it is the true enemy of the resolute. Practice it enough, and you will soon find yourself attempting to talk anybody into believing anything, just for sport. This year, however, I wish to use my powers for good. The following is my guide for turning resolutions into rationalizations. I hope you enjoy 12 months of blithe, sybaritic pleasure.
Resolution 1: In years past, I have resolved to eat healthily: to eschew fat, sugar, and all proteins that originally bore any resemblance to a Disney character. And where did this leave me? Hungry—and testy. So I have adopted the solid theory—advanced by respected nutritionists—that we should eat five or so small meals daily. Translation: if your stomach growls for attention, answer it.
I adapted (practically like adopting!) this theory because I am frequently ravenous at the inconvenient hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. My new method invites me to fill those times with deliciousness: pimiento cheese (extra credit for slathering it on a vegetable, i.e. corn chips), chocolate (full of antioxidants), or wine (it comes from fruit).
Resolution 2: I will spend less than I earn. This is timely, given my financially “holi-dazed” state. I will do this—and get credit from the Lowcountry Local First folks—by doing all of my shopping on Charleston’s silent auction circuit. Many of the deals there are truly steals, and the bounty of wines, honeys, coupons, gift certificates, handmade jewelry, and such will no doubt make for a very pleasurable 2011.
Now, the one flaw in my logic is that these are usually ticketed events, and always for a worthy cause. So I must resolve to join more committees or volunteer to help at events, as a way of bypassing the gate fee. Or leave my husband at home; he’s the only one who really knows what my charitable largesse costs us!
Resolution 3: I will say no to over-scheduling. It is true that I’m known in some circles as the girl who can’t say “no” (not in those circles, thank you very much). So I find myself on boards and committees until I’m stretched a bit too thin. And yes, it does occur to me that my commitment to “no” will seriously impinge on my silent-auction strategy. No volunteering equals no free access. So perhaps the answer is this: If it doesn’t feed my soul—or my five-meal-a-day habit—I will politely decline.
Resolution 4: I will exercise more. This is easy. I live in a place filled with walkways, trails, and sunny days. By my special figuring, climbing the stairs at the downtown Starbucks (all eight of them) burns about, um, 500 calories. Prowling those silent auction tables all night to protect my investment is equivalent—in my world—to a 40-minute spinning class. And brainstorming ways to turn M&Ms into health food is practically as tough as a single leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race. (I’m sure Brad Van Liew would agree.)
And there you have it, my resolutions for New Year’s rationalizations. Follow my lead, and you will wake next January feeling, well, just like you did this year. And if you’re in Charleston, that’s not too shabby.
illustration by David Pineiro