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John Lamb, Published December 31 2013

Lamb: Realistic expectations secret to New Year’s resolutions

Happy New Year!

Now get busy with it.

Yes, it’s a holiday, but don’t think you can spend the day relaxing. Today should be devoted to slavishly planning ways to better yourself over the next 364 days.

Or at least that’s what many of us are lead to believe. We make New Year’s resolutions, and three weeks later we’re spending more time rationalizing ways for not fulfilling them.

“I’d go to the gym, but the weather is nasty.”

“I’d read a book, but ‘Private Lives of Nashville Wives’ starts soon.”

“I’m just taking a break from my diet because the McRib is back for a limited time. And then it’s freeze-dried. Again.”

I’ve made many resolutions for past years and fully achieved none. Does that mean I haven’t made myself or the world a better place without trying? Yeah, pretty much.

Which is why I’m trying again this year. Some people say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I say it’s making a New Year’s resolution.

People who are good about actually reaching their goal (yes, apparently they do exist) say the secret is to have realistic expectations. To me that usually means “zero expectations,” but it’s worth a shot.

• Catch up on laundry. This will keep me busy through January. Once everything is clean, I will take inventory of my socks, pairing matches and purging misfits. This will keep me busy through February.

• Care more about the Winter Olympics in … Sochi? Isn’t that an oatmeal cookie? I can get behind that.

• Care even less about reality TV, awards shows, celebrities and athletes. I didn’t think this was possible, but you never know until you try.

• Similarly, have even lower expectations for Minnesota pro sports teams.

• Quit yelling, “Wear your damn sunglasses on your face, not on the back of your head!” whenever I see Guy Fieri on TV. Actually, that may be asking a lot. How about I just quit screaming that every time I walk through a store and see his cookware?

What’s the point of a “tattoo” design of a koi fish on the bottom of a frying pan? You don’t even cook koi fish. They’re ornamental. And you don’t wear sunglasses on the back of your head!

• Catch up on my blood pressure medications and do something relaxing, like sorting socks.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533