Greetings and Good Resolutions


(January 2010, originally printed in 280 Living, Birmingham, AL)

Happy New Year! Woo-hoo! Hoopla, hoopla, rah rah hooray!

Ok, let me be brief. I am writing this while still in the midst of the crazy chaotic Christmas season. I know one thing for sure, next year, I will not be this crazy, stressed, and strung out for Christmas. I won’t. I resolve that I simply will not. No “ifs”, “ands”, or “buts.” Period. Not going to do it.

By the way, in case you did not hear me or believe me before, Happy New Year.

Happy: feeling or showing satisfaction, contentment, excitement, joy, or pleasure. Happy.

New: at the beginning, something not used, or recently discovered, made or created. New.

Year: a measurement of time, specifically 12 months or 365 days (or 366 in the case of a leap year, which 2010 is not), representing the amount of time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun. Year.

So, may you feel excitement or pleasure at the beginning of this regular planet orbitation (new word, just made it up).

And in doing so, of course, you may make some new determinations or decisions for the upcoming year to be different in certain ways. We all do. We want the next year, or this new year, not to be the same. We want to grow, to mature, to evolve, to change. We want to lose weight, or have more fun; let go of stressful things, or relate differently to certain people. We determine that this year will be better; that in living in this year, 2010, we will be better. We will DO better.

At least until January 12th or the first really good-looking chocolate chip cookie comes along (or bag of them).


What happens? Every year, it is the same thing: the cycle of determination that fades into compromise, conciliation, and concession. Which means Christmas is just as stressful as last year because I did not do anything differently. Which means I did not change. I simply… repeated.


Ok, how do I make my New Year’s resolutions stick? Seriously. How? If I knew that and could say it in a unique way, I would have a best-seller on my hands. And I would be rich, and satisfied (happy), and could simply buy a new Christmas, or rent someone to do it for me.

Pipe dream.


(Sigh) The honest truth is this: I do not have much energy to do much different in this new year of 2010. I have more demands upon me with fewer resources to meet those demands and less desire to actually satisfy the demand. I have what I have and I am what I am. And it is limited. Especially after what I spent at Christmas (both time, energy, and money).

So… what?

(Sigh, again) I guess I will listen to my own advice—keep it simple. Keep it doable. Keep it real. And then keep at it. If it is simple, doable, and real, then I should be able to keep at it.

But if I do not keep at it, I will sit down, because it may be an indication that I need to pause for a moment, maybe take a nap. Rest. Refresh. Breathe.

That would be different. Sitting for a moment. As needed. Throughout the year. When my body or mind or heart tells me that I need to pause, I’ll do that. I can do that. That’s doable. Even enjoyable. For just a moment, if a moment is all I have. (Deep breath).

Whew, I needed that. I feel better. Ok, time to get going. Back at it, for the moment. But I feel better. A bit more refreshed, and a bit more able. Thanks.

Ok, so, where was I? Oh, Happy New Year. May your changes and determinations be authentic, doable, and long-lasting. And if so, may you find your year life-giving.


Paul Johnson is a professionally licensed marriage and family therapist, a professionally licensed counselor and a nationally certified counselor. Please consider contacting LifePractical Counseling for your counseling or consultant needs. You may reach us at 205-807-6645.