A better solution? An old year's resolution
(Editor's note: The guy who normally writes this column had to be rushed to the Cookie Rehabilitation Center after overdosing on tollhouse and oatmeal raisin cookies the day after Christmas. His old friend, Professor Van Von Venn, kindly agreed to fill in.)
New Year's resolutions are broken and shattered more frequently than the windows of a greenhouse located next to a golf ball driving range.
As a result, many people wind up feeling guilty about their lack of will-power in living up to their resolutions to give up bad habits and acquire good ones. Of course, they don't feel guilty enough to try to renew their resolution.
The resolution to lose 20 pounds crumbles as quickly as do the plate full of cookies the resolver devours. The elliptical exercise machine is soon back to serving as a place to hang laundry when the clothes dryer goes on the fritz.
The problem is that people begin the resolutions at the stroke of midnight as the old year gives way to the new year. By the time the clock bongs 12 times for noon on Jan. 1, the resolution or resolutions are often history.
What I propose is that people switch to making "old year's resolutions." The resolutions would go into effect at midnight of Dec. 30-31 and remain in place until the arrival of the new year 24 hours later.
Even someone with the will-power of a hungry St. Bernard in the same room as a bowl of dog food should be able to go one day.
(By the way, did you ever wonder why there is will-power to live more healthily, but there isn't a "won't power" for people giving up snack foods or bad habits?)
First of all, old year's resolutions would eliminate situations in which people have a goal to lose 20, 25 or more pounds. You know that is probably never going to happen. Even these would-be weight losers know that is probably never going to happen.
It is a situation that sets them up for failure. In fact, they may be so depressed after breaking their good eating and exercising resolutions by Jan. 2 that they might eat more to ease their pain.
As a result, their new year's resolutions could very well see them gain 20 or 25 pounds. All summer long, these even heavier people will have to put up with people standing next to them because they want to be in the shade.
With old year's resolutions, the goal would be much more realistic. If people lose a pound or so on that day, they will be elated that their will-power accomplished its purpose.
They will be so happy that they might gain 5 or 6 pounds on New Year's Day snacking for hours on end while watching one bowl game after another.
Old year's resolutions would also help those people who want to get in shape by exercising. Carrying the weights from their car to their home need not be the only exercise they will have time for on Dec. 31.
The one-day resolution could give the resolver a tremendous sense of accomplishment without having to go to the bother of accomplishing anything much.
For example, the person could hop out of bed at the crack of noon and get started with his or her physical fitness regime immediately. Personally, I cannot do push-ups because when I lie on the floor my stomach is so big that my arms cannot reach the floor.
However, even the most out-of-shape people should be able to do one pushup. Once they have recovered their strength a few hours later, they can probably squeeze out two more push-ups.
Imagine the feeling of satisfaction this will give them. Not only have they kept their old year's resolution to exercise, they have doubled their workout.
A similar benefit could be found by those people who want to take up cardio exercise, but who want to be able to stop before they and their resolution run out of breath.
Instead of putting their car keys on the kitchen counter, they should put them in an upstairs bedroom. Then when they want to get in the car to drive two blocks to the store, they get the blood pumping by quickstepping up the stairs.
People who are my age will get even more benefit out of this one-day regimen. By the time they get to the top of the stairs, they will have forgotten what they went up for and have to back down.
They might have to hurry up the stairs several times before their newly energized blood reaches their brain and they remember the reason for stair climbing.
Old year's resolutions will even help those who want to get to bed earlier. They can go to bed by 9 p.m. Dec. 31, sleep three hours and wake up in time to greet the new year and say good-bye to old year's resolutions.
They can go through the new year with the satisfaction of having kept their old year's resolution. The only bad part is that it will only be 364 days until it's time for their new old year's resolutions.
(Walt Kozlowski, a freelance writer from Mount Carmel, composes Walt's Way for each Sunday edition.)