Your first 2023 resolution: Don't shoot yourself in the foot. - (12/20/2022)

By Dr. Ron Gasbarro

Gloria flew into the pharmacy, gushing with smiles and hope for the future. This was unlike her because before Christmas, she looked like death warmed over. "Why so happy?" the pharmacist asked her. "Oh, I am so done with 2022," she exclaimed. "I am looking forward to the new year. I am going to completely change everything about me!"

New Year's resolutions are ba-a-a-c-k! What a way to shoot yourself in the foot just as you flush the old year right down the crapper. Resolutions can be a beeline to failure, followed by depression, eating mac & cheese right from the pot, and wearing the same underwear for a week. According to the international databank Statistic Brain Research Institute, 45% of people make resolutions, and, unsurprisingly, 92% fail by February. 

So, by Valentine's Day, your resolve to be nicer to your neighbor has been ditched. Instead, you are once again tossing her dog's poop back into her front yard. The gym, once crammed with frantic fatties? That pack is now pigging out at Pizza Pagoda. Your scheme to find "the one"? Gone with the wind. Saving more money? Your holiday VISA bill just arrived. Perhaps next pay period?

Who started this doomed tradition anyway? Was it Lifestyle Tyrant Martha Stewart? Was it Mamie Eisenhower who decided, for all humankind, that pink is for girls and blue is for boys? No, it was those nutty Babylonians, 4,000 years ago – the civilization that gave the world the first map, the first wheel, and the concept of time. During the festival called Akitu, they promised their gods to pay their debts and return any borrowed objects, the forerunners of our New Year's resolutions. If the Babylonians kept their word, their gods would smile upon them for the coming year. If not, the gods would get their panties in a twist. Then they would bestow them with pestilence, locusts, drought, disease, and all that jazz. Here, in the 21st century, given our poor resolution batting average, maybe we only have ourselves and not any pagan gods to blame.

Why even make resolutions if they have a dismal adherence rate? Psychologists will tell you that they are our personal checklist. For people like Gloria, January first is a time to correct one's flaws or complete a task on one's bucket list. However, most people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan, as the saying goes. Take the resolution, "I will save more money next year." Admirable! But how are you going to do it? The better vow would be, "I will save $50 every week." Then, plan to stick to it. Consider your pledge to lose a lot of weight by summer. Every person's body is different. Six months may not be enough time to tip the scales in your favor. Fad diets are a free pass to failure, and you may give up by Easter. Instead, slowly change your poor eating habits, and develop a strategy that makes sense for your entire household. Hubby may not want to give up his midnight dish of Ben & Jerry's – and maybe he doesn't need to. That's no reason you should slide back into that wondrous bowl of hot fudge. You can have it "sometimes," but learn to say no, too.

As for finding "the one." Nothing is worse than rushing into a relationship and then discovering it is worse than 10 root canals. Don't be the person at next year's Christmas party whose ring finger is tarnished with your tears. “But I love him!” No. You. Didn’t. Snap out of it!

You can't start your life over from scratch just because it is a new year, as Gloria intends to. Don't make a list of 2 dozen things you want to change. Instead, select 2 or 3 and focus on them. And by next New Year's Day, you might nicely discover that you won't need to make more resolutions after all. Because you will be happy just being you. 

Ron Gasbarro, PharmD, is a recovering pharmacist and writer-in-residence at Rx-Press.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.


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