Customarily, early January is a time of self-reflection, of rejuvenating one's commitment to self-improvement. According to some statistics, about 50 percent of America makes some type of New Year's resolution; of these, half believe they will be successful.
Suckers! Truth is, nearly 90 percent of us fail to keep our annual promises to ourselves. This begs the obvious question: How can we improve the success rate?
Experts generally agree that one of the most successful strategies is making resolutions public and then receiving public support. In that spirit, in no particular order, here is my list of New Year's resolutions. In 2010, I resolve to:
Stop sending superficial Christmas cards. Now older, my friends have started having kids, dogs and other stuff that's fun to take photos of all dressed up in goofy sweaters and pom-pom hats. As such, I receive a veritable blizzard of Christmas cards, each one less enthusiastic than the last. And I'll admit, I've sent my share too - cards that read like my mom was standing over me (in all fairness, in some instances, she was). Anyway, it pains me to think how many trees give their lives to express these apathetic season's greetings. From now on, I will put my half-hearted holiday cheer where it belongs - on Facebook.
Cross streets only at appointed pedestrian crosswalks. Likewise, I resolve to no longer "turtle" out of my driveway, parking spaces, left turn lanes or four-way stops. I will either go or not go. I will make up my mind resolutely and immediately. I will continue to honk mercilessly at those who don't. You know who you are.
Brush and floss after every meal. Even on those weekend days when I easily consume six or seven meals, some in the middle of the night. Wait - do mini pizza bagels count as a meal? Okay, make that eight meals, some in the middle of the night. Failing this original resolution, I resolve to at least eat a little toothpaste before I kiss my wife good morning.
Compost. I mean really compost, not just filling plastic snap-lid buckets with old coffee grounds and decaying salad scraps, then stashing them in the deep, dark recesses of my garage.
Clean out all the snap-lid plastic buckets filled with old coffee grounds and decaying salad scraps from the deep, dark recesses of the garage.
Start the decade fresh and truly leave the "Aughties" behind by foreswearing the following: hedge funds, vampires, $15 cocktails, iPods, high-rider thong underwear - thus leaving tourists one fewer whale's tail to gawk at - blogging, tweeting, texting and Justin Timberlake. You know what, while we're at, I also resolve to stop wearing pants with suggestive phrases written across the butt (no matter how "Juicy" my butt happens to be).
Stop using Internet acronyms. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Stop using Internet acronyms?! OMG, STFU!" But honestly, if I'm going to go to the trouble of learning that whole complicated linguistic system of abbreviations, emoticons and all-caps shortcuts, I may as well teach myself a real foreign language, such as Klingon, for instance, or Tolkien Elvish. ROTFL if you like, they're both more useful than French, which a lot of kids still take in high school.
Resist the temptation to buy a gross of Costco avocados. Never, under any circumstances, will my family ever consume the bag before it rots, which we will only discover right as we're about to whip up some guacamole. I call this phenomenon getting "guac-blocked."
Less tartar, more cocktail. More teriyaki, less soy. Less ketchup, more Heinz 57. Just the exact same amount of ranch. No chipotle anything, ever again. As you can tell, I devote a fair bit of thought to sauces -frankly, life is all the richer.
Take everything less seriously. Except recreation league softball - I think this season I'll start wearing stirrups and polyester shorts. And metal spikes. Freshly-sharpened metal spikes.
Cash in on recent Alaska-based reality TV craze.How? By starring in a reality show about a guy who spends his entire winter doing nothing but watching Alaska-based reality TV shows.
Stockpile Crocs. Even though the company has gone under, I'm completely hooked on these ridiculous Styrofoam shoes. Already, stores are selling out. I call this phenomenon getting "Croc-blocked."
Writing the correct year on checks. If not immediately, then at least sometime before the end of December - just last week the bank returned one I accidentally dated 2008.
Most importantly, in 2010, I resolve not to use New Year's resolutions as a framework for connecting unrelated comedic ideas. D'oh! But you know what? Honestly, that's longer than I usually go before breaking my resolutions.
Happy 2010, Juneau. Should old acquaintance be forgot, you really should've backed it up on an external hard-drive.
Geoff Kirsch lives in Juneau. His column appears twice a month on Wednesdays.