Resolutions and Accountability

Hmmm…where to start?

We are a week into the new year and I still haven’t come up with any 2013 resolutions for myself. Seems like every time I ask anyone about their New Year’s resolutions, I get the same stock answer; “I don’t believe in resolutions,” which is just a cop out. Personally I do believe in resolutions. I think it’s a good idea to occasionally revaluate, rethink, and reinvent yourself. Especially if your primary residence has four tires and a license plate, and a sizeable portion of your income depends largely on the plasma and/or empty soda bottle industries.

But even if you’re one of those one-percenters that thinks a “staycation” is simply something you do while re-cooperating from elective plastic surgery, it’s still a good idea to annually assess your current situation. How else are you going to finally come to the realization that you just might be married to a blue-ribbon ass-wipe, or that the same Supercuts hairdo you’ve been sporting since the 80s just isn’t working for you anymore? (Can we talk about that mullet, please?) A resolution may be the only way to gain the self-awareness you need to rid yourself of all those evil demons.

But the problem is we don’t make those kinds of resolutions for ourselves. Instead we vow to do things like quit smoking or lose weight, things we know we’ll never do unless we get lung cancer or type 2 diabetes. And even then it’s questionable. A New Year’s resolution is nothing more than an annual bad habit spawned by a daily bad habit. Isn’t vowing to quit smoking every year just as bad as continuing to smoke everyday?

Resolutions Redux

Which is why I think we should nix the idea of coming up with resolutions for ourselves, and instead pick resolutions for others. Look at it as my New Year’s gift to you, saving you the pain and agony of determining exactly where in your life you need improvement. Let me point that out for you, because you may be so close to the situation that the problem completely eludes you.

Will those kids out back ever shut up?

Take, for example, my annoying neighbor with the barky dogs and the gaggle of kids who jump on their backyard trampoline ALL NIGHT LONG. I might offer, “Dear neighbor, your resolution this year is to finally muzzle your kids and medicate your dogs. Or vice versa. Whatever it takes to get that circus of a family to shut the hell up so the rest of us on the block can get some sleep between the hours of midnight and six a.m. I’m just sayin’.”

And in return my neighbor could graciously offer me the resolution of…well, um, I honestly can’t think of anything at the moment, but you get the idea.

The difference between coming up with our own resolutions and having others “gift” them to us is huge. When somebody else points out our bad habits and practices we tend to pay more attention than if we realize them ourselves—even if it’s the exact same neurotic behavior we’ve been aware of since that unfortunate incident back in junior high. (Just fill in the blank here with your own life-changing, mortifying, pubescent event.) Because recognizing one’s own bad behavior and being motivated to actually do something about it are two different things. Sometimes offering someone a resolution is just the nudge they need to inspire change. (Calling the police also helps.)

My Resolutions Don’t Matter

Resolutions…the gift that keeps on giving

Ironically, we don’t hold ourselves accountable for our own resolutions, but when someone else bestows resolutions upon us, then all of a sudden they become important goals. Why is that? How come I won’t listen to what’s in my heart, but I WILL listen to you judge me on my tendency to babble on like an autistic chicken whenever I meet someone famous? Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Generally I do believe in New Year’s resolutions, but for whatever reason I’m much better at coming up with resolutions for other people than I am for myself, especially when those “other people” infringe upon my comfort. So if you happen to do something unbelievably remarkable this year that lands you squarely on my resolution gift list, guess what you’ll be getting from me next Christmas?

Related Links

10 Resolutions That Anyone Can Keep by Jenny From the Blog at the Suburban Jungle
A New Year’s Resolution, for Someone Else by Michael Kolomatsky of the New York Times
9 Comedy Resolutions for 2013 by the Huffington Post

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Stacy Dymalski is the host of the hilarious TV talk show “Mother Bloggers” on She’s also an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in bookstores and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.