It's believed that the ancient Babylonians were the first to make, and presumably break, New Year's resolutions because their customary eleven-day celebrations left them with a few regrets and a pile of resolving to do. (You know what they say: "What happens in Mesopotamia, stays in Mesopotamia!"TM)
The Dutch get started on their honey-do lists every January by making bonfires out of their Christmas trees, and some Japanese celebrate Oshogatsu when Buddhist monks make like T. Rex and bang a gong to drive out 108 kinds of human weakness.
It's almost a rule, and definitely a cliché, that every columnist in the world is going to talk about resolutions this week. But you won't be seeing any resolve from me, and here's why.
We've all done it: wakened at noon on January first, tired, cranky, and maybe a little hung over. As we stagger into the kitchen searching for a pot or two of coffee, we catch a bleary glimpse of our haggard countenance in a mirror and after recovering from our initial shock that we look less like 1980 Bo Derek and way too much like 2011 Madonna, swear not only that we will never, ever do this (whatever we can remember of "this") again, but that we will become devotees of clean living on a scale that would daunt even those Buddhist monks.
We start on all that jogging and non-smoking and eliminating sugar and fried foods and high fructose corn syrup. We haul ourselves out of bed at o'dark-thirty to get to a gym and eat nothing but salad for like, a week, until we crack like a piñata and do a swandive faceplant into a pizza with the works and a pony keg of Miller Lite.
So right there with the ubiquitous articles about resolutions are the experts advising on how to make a resolution that sticks. This advice usually entails making small, reasonable goals, making public commitments to keep the resolution, and publishing accountable results. There's an app for that.
Even with all that advice, ‘round about mid-February we'll stagger back into the kitchen looking for that coffee and finding only the shards of our resolutions lying there with the pizza crusts and Madonna's reflection again in the puddles of beer.
So I'm going to add a different wrinkle to the Parade of Pundit Resolution Advice:
If, like 90 percent of the world, you always break your resolutions, bow to the God of Inevitability and make resolutions that are bad for you. When you break them, as you know you will, by default you'll be doing something good for yourself.
So in 2012, I resolve to...
• Do nothing but watch TV every night after work.
• Eat dessert every day. Twice. Maybe three times if I can figure out a way to work hot fudge into breakfast.
• Refuse to clean the house. The way I figure it, with my track record I'll be working out every day, turn into a vegan and be on the cover of House Beautiful no later than March 1.
In the meantime, I'll wish you a Happy New Year in the language that started it all (or as close as I can get without a Rosetta Stone): Newroz Pirozbe!
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears monthly in the AFN.