The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 30, 2013

Mike Pound: When you resolve, be vague, very vague

With this new year, I resolve not to resolve.

It’s the same New Year’s resolution that I make every year, and I’ve managed to keep it every year.

I learned a long time ago that New Year’s resolutions were a waste of time. The only reason you make a New Year’s resolution is to try to do something that you weren’t able to do the previous year.

“This year, my New Year’s resolution is to work out more,” you say to yourself.

“Did you work out a lot last year?” yourself asks you.

“No, but this year is different,” you say.

“How?” yourself asks.

“OK. This year I resolve to quit talking to myself,” you say.

The only successful New Year’s resolutions are ones that you probably would keep anyway.

“This year, I resolve to watch more TV.”

But, if you’re bound and determined to make a New Year’s resolution, I have some advice for you.

First of all, never take advice from a newspaper columnist. If newspaper columnists had any advice worth sharing, they wouldn’t be newspaper columnists.

I don’t have anything against advice columns such as Dear Abby or Ann Landers, but I never understood why people wrote to them for advice. At the height of their popularity, Abby and Ann probably received thousands of letters a week, which means, even if your letter was picked, it likely would take four to six weeks before they could get to your problem — given the backlog of letters.

“Hmmm, I have this big problem. What should I do? I know, I’ll write a letter to someone I don’t know, and if I’m lucky, in four to six weeks I’ll have a solution to my problem.”

But, if you’re gullible enough to take advice from a newspaper columnist, here is some New Year’s resolution advice.

No. 1: Keep your resolutions vague. Specific resolutions are trouble. Consider a resolution like this: My New Year’s resolution is to run a marathon. That’s crazy. Do you know how long a marathon is? It’s like 26 miles. Most people get tired driving 26 miles.

Here is a better way to make the same resolution: “My New Year’s resolution is to run.”

See, you’ve made a resolution to run, but you haven’t pinned yourself down to a specific distance. If you happen to run a marathon, that’s great, you’ve kept your resolution. But if you happen to run to the bathroom one time in the next year, you’ve also kept your resolution.

No. 2: Make New Year’s resolutions that are reasonable. Consider a resolution like this: My New Year’s resolution is to lose 200 pounds. That is not a reasonable resolution.

But, a very reasonable New Year’s resolution would be to lose your car keys.

Let me put it another way. A New Year’s resolution by any cast member from “Duck Dynasty” to say something stupid is a very reasonable resolution.

No. 3: Don’t make any New Year’s resolution that you know you won’t keep. Let’s say you’re watching the Kansas City Chiefs play — oh, I don’t know — the San Diego Chargers, and even though you told yourself that the game didn’t mean anything since the Chiefs were already in the playoffs, you start to get interested in the game. Then, let’s say the Chiefs, even though they are using kids from a nearby high school, are on the verge of winning the game. Then, let’s say the Chiefs normally reliable place-kicker misses a 41-yard field goal that would have won the game, and you scream obscenities at the TV screen for 27 minutes. Then, let’s say the Chiefs in overtime appear to recover a fumble and return it for a touchdown to win the game, but the referees disagree and then choose to not review the play, and you scream obscenities for 58 more minutes. If you did that, then two days later, making a New Year’s resolution to “never scream at the TV during a Chiefs game again” would not be a reasonable resolution.

But if after reading this, you still feel obligated to make a New Year’s resolution, I have the perfect one for you.

“My New Year’s resolution is to try and do something.”

You’re welcome.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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