Tuesday, January 12, 2016

So why do we bother making resolutions?

By R.J. Harlick

Yes, indeed why?  I can see none of my confrères are particularly enamoured with them nor resolute in keeping them.  And I’m no less guilty. Yet most of us make them. We may not write them down or announce them to all and sundry, but most of us mentally make a resolution or two or three when the clock ticks over into the new year. I suppose it’s all about the sense of new beginnings the hanging a new calendar makes. We feel we have an opportunity to correct a bad habit or improve something about ourselves because let’s face it, none of us is entirely happy with the way we are.

Being a basically sedentary being with a penchant for adding on the pounds, I’ve tried New Year’s resolutions to tone myself up numerous times. No more rich dark chocolate that brings such a soothing tingle to my mouth. Cookies bulging with chocolate chips are equally verboten. Don’t even think about cheese, gooey, melt in your mouth cheese, let alone place a thick dollop of it on a slice of freshly baked baguette.  Ah yes, bread, my nostrils are tingling at the mere thought of its savory aromas wafting from the bag. And how about a buttery croissant gently warmed in the oven? Nope, no way.

For more January firsts than I care to count, I have vowed that I will stick to yogurt, fruit and granola for breakfast, replace my bulging luncheon sandwich with a healthy green salad, remove all pasta – boy, do I love pasta – from my dinner menus along with put-on-the-pounds potatoes. And of course only lean meats, like skinless, boneless chicken breasts and not the juicy store-made sausages with so many intriguing varieties from which to chose or a thick, well-marbled t-bone steak cooked to perfection on the barbecue. And for snacking, when my rumbling stomach is interrupting my writing silence, carrots sticks, of course.

To tone up those sagging muscles and keep my doctor happy, I vow to spend less time on the couch and more time exercising. You have to realize that even the word ‘exercise’ is an anathema to me. Nonetheless I promise myself I will do twenty minutes daily on the stationary bike that has sat idle for the last eleven months in the basement. I will practice yoga at least two more times in the week than the weekly session I’ve finally managed to accept into my schedule. I probably only do it because if I stopped, I would never hear the end of it from my husband who attends the same session.  I also have my dogs’ tails wagging with promises of extra long walks with the occasional ski walk thrown in.

And do I follow any of these resolutions, let alone keep them? Well, you already know the answer.

I will say, though, that over the years some variations of them have stuck.  As much as I adore chocolate chip cookies, I have managed to reduce the number to a very, very occasional one and I keep the gooey cheese and buttery croissants to weekend meals only. As for exercise, I am usually motivated enough to have at least one twenty minute session on the stationary bike in a week or come summer a long more enjoyable cycle in the fresh air.

But hey, imagine what it would be like if we all kept to our resolutions. What a bunch of svelte, athletic human beings we’d be, sipping on our carrot juice, while sweating off the pounds on our treadmills without so much as a gasp. Kind of boring, eh?

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Anonymous said...

Nancy R here in Ottawa ........... oh Robin, you are absolutely right. My sedentary pleasures (reading, stitching, quilting and the computer) so outweigh exercising my body! In that department, you are at least an exercise bike and numerous dog-walks ahead. The cherry-chocolate fudge I ate on January 1st was incredibly good; I threw out the no sweets resolution on day 1 of 2016.
One thought - is there gender equality in making and keeping resolutions?
Thanks for the blog.

RJ Harlick said...

Nancy, I think there is gender equality, at least if I base it on my husband. He isn't any better at keeping NY resolutions than I am. Glad to see I have a kindred spirit in you.

Paul D. Marks said...

Your post is making me hungry, RJ. And since I already broke my non-resolutions......