Tim Sample: Stories I Never Told You

Be it hereby resolved

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 8:30am

Goodness, where has the time gotten to? It hardly seems possible that enough of those old black and white calendar pages have already flipped across the flickering screen of our lives to prompt another list of New Year’s resolutions.

Yet, here we are, once again watching the last traces of sand slip through the hourglass; with the old year fast fading and the new one waving enthusiastically from the bus stop, we’ve not a moment to lose.

Regular readers of this column may recall that, for some years now I’ve chosen to exempt myself from the whole New Year’s resolution rigmarole. That said, after quietly revisiting the subject in recent months, I’ve decided to reverse my long held position. Yes, friends, hoisting high the age-old banner of self-improvement I will once again be compiling my annual list of New Year’s resolutions.

This time around however, things are going to be different. This year, I’m approaching “the list” from a radically new perspective; a critical format change if you will, which (if I do say so myself and frankly if I don’t who will?) I actually consider rather brilliant.

I am so confident in the transformative power of my new system that I predict many of you will soon be scrambling to adopt it. If that should be the case, by all means, feel free; adopt away! In the magnanimous spirit of 21st century “open sourcing,” consider the sharing of this simple, yet revolutionary insight as my New Year’s gift to you. Ready? Steady? Here goes:

Be it hereby resolved that henceforth each and every item on my annual resolutions list shall, prior to inclusion on said list, be “Certified Reality Based” by the Internal Department of Interesting Original Thoughts (IDIOT).

Ayuh, you heard it here first chummy! I’m actually proposing a strictly reality based approach to the ritual of annual New Year’s resolutions. Is that revolutionary or what? Come on, admit it.

After wrestling for decades with a series of ever more wildly optimistic, totally unrealistic pie-in-the-sky New Year’s resolutions, followed inevitably by the all-too-familiar train wreck of dashed dreams, hijacked hopes and sucker-punched self-esteem, I’ve stumbled upon a foolproof solution. Foolproof? Yes foolproof!

For the first time ever, my new system addresses the underlying problem, the core issue at the heart of this annual dilemma; the inescapable fact that every list I’ve ever compiled has been hopelessly and irreparably unrealistic!

I’m amazed it’s taken me so long to see the truth. In every resolution I’ve ever made, going back to earliest childhood, all of my naïve hopes, dreams and aspirations for self-improvement were doomed to failure right out of the gate, destined to be devoured by the lurking chimera of impossibility, dashed on the rocks of ludicrously high expectation!

It’s just that simple folks. The scales have dropped from my eyes and it’s become clear that the only rational way forward is to follow the marvelously stress free path of drastically lowered expectations.

With that in mind allow me to share with you my first-ever, extremely brief, yet highly achievable, list of “Certified Reality Based” New Year’s resolutions:

Physical Fitness: I begin this New Year totally confident that I will (for the first time ever) achieve all of my physical fitness goals. Having completely abandoned the absurd late night infomercial driven ambition of developing “rock hard abs,” I’ve set my sights a whole lot lower: I hereby resolve that at some point in the course of the next 12 months I will develop a set of abdominal muscles that can be accurately and definitively located in the course of a routine, half hour office visit by an appropriately trained and licensed medical professional.”

Diet: I hereby resolve to consume at least one serving of “vegetables” (i.e.; one medium sized bag of corn chips, one large box of wheat thins, etc.) per month and limit my daily intake of “between meal snacks” to not more than three servings (i.e.; one pint of Ben and Jerry’s, one and a half whoopie pies or two bowls of Cap’n Crunch with milk, etc.).

Financial: In the coming year I hereby resolve to reduce the crippling effects of financial stress via the time-honored method of Fiscal Quarantine: placing all credit card bills, unopened and unexamined, directly into the bottom drawer of my desk for a two-month “cooling off period” prior to opening.

Well, there you have it. Feel free to improvise to suit your individual circumstances and aspirations. I’m confident that with a little effort (very little in fact) my approach will transform the traditional, “I’ll do better next year,” into a triumphant “Mission Accomplished!”

Happy New Year!