Wavelengths: 2014: Start the Resolutions Later

Consider a new time, not so far off, for resolutions

By Jim Kempton

Jim Kempton

Jim Kempton

New Year’s has become the accepted time to make our regular annual good resolutions. The next week, however may be a much better time to actually put them in practice.

When we were young it was a thrill to be allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. By drinking age it was the excuse to go a little overboard once a year. Now people have “New York New Years” which celebrates the New Year on Eastern Standard Time and is over by 9 p.m. I’m attending two of them myself this year. And I will still have trouble getting up early to begin all those resolutions.

If you don’t like unsuccessful resolutions, here’s an easy one for January 1: The top New Year’s resolution nationwide is to “spend more time with family and friends.” More than 50 percent of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends. So make plans to meet up with “old acquaintances” for an evening of camaraderie at one of the many wonderful restaurants in our little town. Or take the family to a special place—one that has personal meaning to each member. You don’t have to get up early to do either one of those.

The most commonly broken resolution: to lose weight and get fit. Among the most common: less alcohol consumption, taking trips and vacations, learning a new skill or getting a better education.

Which brings me to my main point—I have always thought that New Year’s resolutions should not start on January 1. Consider: most people are probably feeling the effects of drinking too much, eating too much and spending too much the night before. Most of us are unlikely to bound out of bed that morning to enroll in a class, hit the gym, book a vacation or begin to hone a new skill. And since those are some of the most popular resolutions the majority of us make, we shouldn’t start out handicapped. The second week of January seems like a much more reasonable start date. Now, some would say that approach invites procrastination; that life is short. There is truth in that. Time flies. None-the-less, we sit in the pilot seat with our hands on the instruments. And that goes back to my main point again—better to plan a serious flight when there is less fog.

Perhaps the best attitude to embrace on the dawn of a new year is this one from Mark Twain: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. 

Jim Kempton is a writer and local San Clemente resident of 30 years. He believes as Ben Franklin did, that we should always be at war with our vices and at peace with our neighbors.

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