We’re currently inundated with new year’s resolution memes and people are already asking, “Have you broken your resolution yet?”
Jeez! How weak are we? Are we the same species who fled comfy, lice-ridden cities to cross oceans in rickety, wooden boats without valet service to chop down trees and to make room for the I-95? Um…I might have skipped over hundreds of years of slavery, a few assassinations and some other historical events in that brief summary, but you get my point. Be stronger, with the dumb, pioneer spirit and distressing testicular fortitude of your ancestors.
The solutions to broken resolutions are pretty much the same every year.
Here are varieties of bad solutions you might recognize:
1. Tech solutions: Get a Fitbit to lose that weight because that which is not measured doesn’t get changed. Write it all down. (Good start! Keep going!) When you stop writing it down, you’ll look up to find yourself, inexplicably and magically, transported to the pizza parlour. Blink again and you’re in the ice cream parlour. Weird. (Bad end.)
2. Psychological: Love yourself more, because, I mean, like…wow. Think how you’ll look in that hot, red tube top, sir! (Corollary: How about I love me more the way I am right now and eat an entire ham smothered in chocolate and soft serve ice cream? I’ll wear that same tube top, but as a headband.)
3. Political: Let’s form another committee about that. We can get your proposal on the agenda two weeks after the sun explodes, on a Tuesday afternoon, at about the time we table it forever, for the drifting in space holiday.
4. Demented political: Pull yourself up by your bootstraps you moochers and takers! (Even though pulling oneself up by the bootstraps was originally meant ironically since it’s a physical impossibility which, if possible, would deny gravity and allow us all to float.)
5. Philosophical: Why? Why? Why? Why didn’t I choose a major that led to employment?
6. Social work: Don’t ask why, dummy! Ask, Why not?
7. Evangelical: Jesus, by all depictions, was a really chiselled jock. And He wouldn’t eat an ice cream cone. (But how many carbs are in manna?)
8. Journalistic (1960 to 1990): Let me tell you about the obesity epidemic (good) and the glory of low-fat diets that were tried for decades and failed miserably (stupid).
9. Journalistic (1990 – present): Let me scare you to death over the latest food fad while we watch this stooge for the sugar industry debate a squirrel on water skis. (All stupid.)
10. Dream Journaling: I’ll watch The Secret again and again and if I wish really hard and we all clap our hands, Tinkerbell will live and I’ll hate myself a fraction less.
11. Personal trainer logic: You weren’t born with a thin person’s metabolism like me, therefore you’re a lazy slob.
12. Coaching a la The Biggest Loser: I will respect you as a human being, but only after you lose the weight. You losers disgust me! What? You thought “Loser” in the title was ironic?
13. Drama coach: Show us what your new life will look like through the magic of interpretive dance!
14. Medical: I’ll tell you to lose the weight. What? How do you do it? Nobody really knows for sure…but go do that.
15. Systemic solutions: The status quo is All. Go back to sleep. You will be assimilated.
16. Obligatory Stoner cliché: Don’t rock the boat man, cuz nothing changes and The Man is keeping us down. The plaid pattern on this couch is, like, deep, man.
17. Optimistic: We can rise above the status quo. We never have personally, but darn it we will! Just because, that’s why!
18. Pessimistic: If we change for the better, I’ll have to get a whole new personality. That sounds like a lot of work.
19. Educational: Study all the theories about how to change. Write another thesis. We’ll reach a conclusion when you’re quarter past dead, which, to be fair, is much faster than #3.
20. Capitalistic: Irrelevant. Who has money anymore?
21. Socialistic: I can change as soon as I get everyone else on board and get approved through a consensus of a vast number of people who don’t understand my problems.
22. Tyrannical: Do as I say! Oh, crap, I’m shot.
23. Vegan Yogic: I’m already perfect in every way. The enlightened need not change. And you? Still eating food with a face?
24. Nike Vulcan Logic: I do not understand why you do not just do it, you moronic human.
25. Captain Kirk Logic: Screw the Prime Directive again! No consequences! But first, hey, green girl! Do you come to this space bar often?
26. Dr. Who Logic: We’ll fix your current circumstance by going back in time, except that will just make more timestreams and, you being you, I suspect you’ll still be miserable. Worse, at some point my lovely, adoring assistant will age, get married off to some half-wit who isn’t me or be murdered by an alien.
27. Fatalistic: Nothing changes. Why bother? Though…yeah, I would like to get out of my parents’ basement before I’m 40. But that could never work. No one’s ever succeeded at changing anything ever.
28. Pollyanna: Don’t change. You’re beautiful. I’m beautiful. Everything is beautiful. Just keep those red and green pills coming or for the love of god lobotomize me!
29. Good Will Hunting: It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.
30. Irish Mom: It’s your fault. And your father’s.
31. Man Logic: When I look in the mirror, I look pretty good to me.
32. Woman Logic: When he looks in the mirror, he has no &%$@!! idea what I put up with.
33. Internet Logic: Buy this white paper for just $24.95 and you’ll be thin, rich, famous and dating a Kardashian by Tuesday night! (Bonus offer: The surprising secret to whiter teeth and upward mobility through animal husbandry!)
34. Great Santini Dad logic: I’m very disappointed in you. Do you even know how much those cello lessons cost? And where is that cello now? You’re no Yo-Yo Ma. Just a yo-yo, huh? More pushups will fix you, you big baby! You’ll thank me after I’m dead!
35. Mom logic: Have some more substitute love casserole and pay no attention to what your father says. I mean, look at him. Gawd!
36. Bureaucrat logic: I’d be interested in your problem, but my retirement is only, like, thirty years away so fill out these forms…
37. Cop logic: Everybody’s guilty and, as we all know, jail fixes everything so…
38. Surgeon’s logic: If cutting won’t solve your problem, you don’t have a problem.
39. Comedian logic: But if I fix my life, what will I do for an act?
40. Swiss logic: What is wrong with you people? Just stay out of it.
41. Whiner logic: I would change but it’s so hard. I didn’t think it would be this hard. Let me tell you about it over a huge dessert coffee, which I deserve because I must celebrate each tiny triumph or self-medicate my ego for every minuscule setback.
42. Toxic Logic: I knew you’d fail and I can’t tell you how joyous it is to be here to quantify my I told you so in excruciating detail with a heavy dollop of condescension.
43. YouTube Commenter: You suck and this is a colossal waste of time, which was just made more colossal because I’m taking the time to make a hateful comment here. (And, by the way, I’m a raging bigot with no life who hates everyone and everything but me.)
44. Amazon reviewer: Good job! Four stars for a solid effort.
45. Goodreads reviewer: Good job! Three stars for a solid effort.
46. Grammar Nazi: Everything would be great and this post would be funnier if not for the 150 mistakes, both real and imagined.
47. Actual Nazi: I feel zee term “Grammar Nazi” devalues my life’s vork. My life’s terrible, terrible vork.
48. Self-help industry: I can definitely help you change your life. First walk across these coals at my seminar in Fiji, buy all the books which pretty much say the same thing, join the cult and accept the idea that encouraging words + semantics = “new, revolutionary mind technology”.
49. Outsourcing: I can’t get to the gym and take care of the kids and do my job, but there’s this slave in Malaysia. She doesn’t speak English, but she can listen to the kids over the phone while she works out.
50. Life Coach #1: Just say no. It worked when Nancy Reagan told…oh…right.
51. Life Coach #2: Say yes to Life! Cuz when Jim Carrey said yes to everything in Yes Man, he uh…didn’t he help Luis Guzman with a guitar or something?
52. Breaking Bad solutions: “Science, bitch!” And meth. Lots and lots of meth.
53. Chuck Norris: “He doesn’t need a weapon. He is a weapon.” Um…I don’t see how that is a solution to my —” “Because he’s Chuck Norris, that’s why!”
54. SpongeBob Squarepants: Meth, obviously. Lots and lots of meth.
55. Pet cat solutions: When you die because you did not seek to fix your life, I’ll be eating your fat corpse before it’s cold. And don’t think of me as your “pet.” You’ve got it backwards.
56. Glee solutions: Let’s sing about our pain and marry insanely young so we’ll always have lots of pain to sing about.
57. TV exec solutions: We filmed the worst people we could find so your life looks and feels much better, even though we’re paying these awful reality stars more per minute than you make in a year.
58. Podcast solution: We can talk about it. We’ll talk about it again and forget we talked about it before.
59. Talk therapy solution: Pretty much the same as #58.
60. Dr. Phil Solution: Drawl insulting Texan idioms at you until you promise to change just to shut him up.
61. Oprah Solutions: (This snarky remark deleted because, Jesus, she’s Oprah! She comes off soft and spiritual, but she’s Oprah, for God’s sake! She could have me and all of you killed just for reading this!)
62. Bond movie solution: Cool soundtrack, but don’t model your life after a guy who always gets captured by an impossibly rich, cartoonish villain in a cheap suit.
63. Cher in Moonstruck:
Make better choices on an ongoing basis. You probably already know what you need to do. You know you need to make a plan and follow it consistently and not quit when you fail. Because you will fail. But if you put more checks in the “did it” column instead of making longer “to-do” lists, you’ll win in the longterm. Commit.
And finally, especially for writers:
Whatever you commit to doing first will get done.
If you aren’t writing, start and do that first,
before all the other demands of the day get in the way.
Set the alarm clock for early. See you at the desk.