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You Say You Want a Resolution?

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“So this is the New Year, / And I don’t feel any different.”   By Hannah Wallace   Well, dear Lord, bad enough I’ve been out of the blogosphere since Christmas; now I can’t seem to spit out a single coherent entry. Ah, welcome to 2009; nothing’s changed. I’d resolve to be more coherent, but […]

January 6, 2009


“So this is the New Year, / And I don’t feel any different.”
 
By Hannah Wallace
 
Well, dear Lord, bad enough I’ve been out of the blogosphere since Christmas; now I can’t seem to spit out a single coherent entry. Ah, welcome to 2009; nothing’s changed. I’d resolve to be more coherent, but I don’t think “improve mental facilities” is a plausible goal.
 
“It’s been a long December / And there’s reason to believe / Maybe this year will be better than the last.”
 
I’ve been working on a collection of New Year’s songs for, well, several years now. Seems like an underrepresented holiday, mix-tape-wise. So every time I hear a song with some sort of Jan. 1 theme, I stick it into that folder on iTunes. It’s a motley collection, as you can imagine—Counting Crows, Death Cab For Cutie, Tori Amos and Joni Mitchell. I just found a Rage Against the Machine song, too—yeah, that brings it to a whole new level of eclectic. But as varied as it is, all the songs I’ve collected so far seem to have a certain somber, introspective thing going on. I guess the resolutions themselves really aren’t the point; New Year’s is just a great excuse to be contemplative.
 
“So this is the New Year, / And I have no resolutions / For self-assigned penance, / For problems with easy solutions.”
 
Unfortunately, another New Year’s Day has come and gone, and I still don’t have enough songs to justify a complete CD. Aha, that’ll be my resolution: To finish it in 2009. (Now, if someone could just remind me of that resolution come November….)
 
Actually, I can’t do resolutions. I’ve tried, and I love the idea of declaring a definite-but-achievable goal, but the truth is, I’ve never been all that great at keeping my sights set on a goal for more than an hour or two.
 
I have recently made some small, purposeful, personal tweaks, albeit technically unrelated to New Years. (If only I’d dared declare these things my goals before I found myself doing them, I actually could’ve made a list and then, y’know, crossed stuff off of it.) Hey, I went out and bought a car—before the old one died, even! How proactive of me!
 
Of course, there’s the classic “get in shape/lose weight” resolution. I’ve got that one covered with a real structured approach: CCB turned me on to sparkpeople.com, which I now use to keep track of daily fitness and nutrition, with the pleasant side effect of learning about vitamins and serving sizes and whatnot. (Entertainingly, since Jan. 1 has rolled around, that site seems a little bogged with newly resolute dieters.) I have to say, it’s had a profound effect on how I plan meals, think about food, etc.
 
The key this time of year is not to think of big, short-term changes. I mean, it’s New Year’s, not Lent. You’ve just got to find ways to fine tune your habits—make a manageable adjustment right after the holiday chaos, before you settle back into your old routine. “Happiness is equilibrium,” says a Stoppard character. “Shift your weight.”
 
Here’s hoping 2009 improves your balance.
 
Anybody made any interesting resolutions for the next, um, 358 days? (Yeah, so this blog is a little late.)