Don’t make New Year’s resolutions for yourself… make them for others. It’s easier, more fun, less trouble.
It’s the time of the year for the obligatory New Year’s
resolutions. You know, what I mean:I plan to go on a diet and become chic and svelte by Valentine’s Day.
I will go to the gym every other day, so help me
Hannah. Muscles and enticing curves, or bust.
I will eschew the delights of eating one sugar-soaked
Little Debbie after another.
I will… but you get the idea.
There is something abhorrent about admitting
that you are imperfect. I don’t like it at all.
New Year’s resolutions imply that you have somehow
fallen beneath the high standard of perfection, that
there is something not quite right about you, a nagging
something that needs instant attention.
But what could that be?
Like you, I look in the mirror of a morning and, despite
advancing age, I see nothing but the spitting image of
one who is, indeed, the fairest of them all. It affronts me
to think otherwise.
Thus, while wishing to do my bit to uphold the
traditions of Auld Lang Syne and making resolutions,
I find it hard to do so… as I have nothing to improve
and everything to enjoy.
Hence this modest idea: give up resolution making for
yourself… and focus your full attention upon the others,
lamentable, imperfect, with a pressing need for overhauls
small and large.
Draw up a list of persons known to you with glaring,
Do not stint. Remember, you are performing a useful
act, a noble act, and act of kindness and empathy. As
such, let yourself go… think of your aging peers and their
shocking habits… of your relatives who have outlived the
excuse of “puppy fat.”
Think of your loud, too boisterous, ear-splitting friends…
and the motor-mouths whose decided opinions on
everything under the sun are, perhaps, de trop.
Think of the always-late delivery boy and those
with too many unattended felines in a confined
space and the olfactory discomfort thereby occurring.
Think, I say, think of prevaricating politicians…
and those with nookie on their minds and an acute
inability to contain it. Look around you and weigh in
with a will…for you have many resolutions to craft
and far too little time in which to offer them. Timing
is everything, after all, and New Year’s resolutions
in March seem, well, tardy. Act now.
Now write the New Year’s resolutions — for others.
This part could be troublesome and demands your
full attention and craft. Resolutions must be simple,
straightforward, honest and at least potentially do-able.
Thus, calling your insufficiently loved and abundantly
padded brother-in-law fat just won’t do. Try this instead:
New Year’s resolution of brother-in-law Bob:
To lose 15 pounds by month’s end.
And then your signature and the date.
Keeping your resolutions short, sweet, and to the
point is de rigueur.
Mail the resolution… email the resolution. Only
ensure that your kind thought for their betterment and
perfection reaches them early in January.
Imagine how grateful, how pleased the recipient will be when
he of pronounced embonpoint receives this missive and its
kind and thoughtful message becomes apparent.
Send your New Year’s resolutions even to those near and
dear who share your abode and are bosom buddies and
dear companions on your earthly journey.
The temptation, even for those expert and experienced
in providing life enhancing New Year’s resolutions for others,
will be to personally deliver, message upon hallmarked silver
salver, your resolutions to the people near at hand, spouse,
children, impecunious sons in law, etc. You will think of
their profoundly grateful responses, you will think of
the affection and love in their eyes. You will hear with
delight words so lavish and abject that even that practised
purveyor of the obsequious Uriah Heep would be put to
shame. No, you do not want to miss a moment.
But you must.
For your recipient will need a moment or two to
compose himself and, no doubt, let fall the grateful
tear, that you should care so much and have gone to so
much bother on their behalf. Allow them a moment
of reflection in privacy, as they think how grateful, how
very grateful, they are to have such a one as you in
their (otherwise imperfect) life.
Savor this moment, glass of grog at hand for
you have done the very best of deeds. Sing under your breath
this little-remembered chorus from Robert Burns’ immortal
annual anthem of maudlin sentimentality, Auld Lang Syne:
“We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.”
And now, gratitude, indeed.
As I was finishing up this practical report, there
was a knock at the door… then the telephone rang…
then I noticed a decided up tick in my email.
I was not surprised… I was expecting such a deluge.
After all, I had contacted many with a hearty abundance
of resolutions, necessary, specific, in depth, all
resoundingly honest to a fault. Now, no doubt, the expected
responses, the epistles of gratitude and fulsome thanks
were at hand.
Ou la la!
Imagine my surprise upon reading the first of these
New Year’s Resolution of Dr. Jeffrey Lant…:
signed your loving sister
Then the one signed by my (concerned) brother, my
(worried) father, one jointly signed by my (still affectionate)
niece and nephew, my (who-else-could-tell-you?) best friend,
my (long suffering) partners… even my (silent-until-now) driver
and his wife.. .and all the very many others.
It was jolting to be sure to learn that so many felt
so strongly there was so much of me to enhance and correct.
But these messages, profoundly honest, stimulated
the only New Year’s resolution I shall make this
year: to love them all, warts and all, and be
profoundly glad I have them in my life.
Happy New Year, 2017!
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
About The Author
2017 brings Dr. Lant to seven decades of a successful writing career. He is, he likes to say, in the prime of his prime. Thus does the "scribbling" life he commenced at age
5 continue. Over fifty books. Thousands of articles. Untold radio and television programs;
worldwide recognition and enthusiasm, all of which culminated in the publication of
his autobiography, "A Connoisseur's Journey, being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck and joy". It was a book that screamed "classic!", and he has
delighted in the several awards that followed.
To get your copy go to www.drjeffreylant.com. You will also want to check out Dr. Lant's complete oeuvre found in the Dr. Jeffrey Lant Store
Dr. Jeffrey Lant, Harvard educated, started writing for publication at age 5. Since then, he has published over 1,000 articles and 63 books, and counting.