My Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions (and why I won’t be keeping them.)

by Debra Chappell

View from the Back Porch:


Mood Reading: ZZZ’s (stayed up to watch season opener of Downton Abbey, took me a while to remove my jewels and tiara.)

Every publication I’ve picked up in the last 2 weeks has suggested appropriate New Year’s Resolutions, depending on who’s paying the advertising.  I thought I’d share mine along with the reasons I probably won’t be keeping them.  After all, we’re already a week in and I’ve broken most of them starting with:

1.  Procrastination:  I’d like to think I’ll get this under control this year but the truth of the matter is I’ve been doing it for so long I’ve discovered adequate ways to live with it.  Why do something in a timely fashion when you can go for a latte, gab with a friend, do lunch with the girls, organize your sock drawer and clean the lint screen from your dryer first — and then run around like a lunatic to get it accomplished at the last possible moment…often with no one the wiser?  I’ve got this down to a science now so see little reason to change.

2.  Lose weight:  This is a perennial on everyone’s list but let’s face it, if we really wanted toImage we would have by now.  It comes down to one’s personal priorities and choices.  Yes, we all seem to want to be thinner, but at what cost? When my friend Paige offers to bring a nibble to the cabin for a girls weekend, I could suggest celery sticks, carrots and homemade humus but more often request her world famous to-die-for clam dip.  The only “choice” in my view is Lays with or without the ridges. And yes, we are all well aware of the virtue in eating healthfully and I admire those with the willpower to maintain on special occasions. But I might add there’s nothing worse than eating out with a friend who orders the grilled salmon on a bed of arugula with a Perrier spritzer when you’ve had your heart set on pasta with vodka cream sauce and a shaker of pomegranate martinis! I say knock ‘em upside the head with a heavily buttered garlic bread stick and tell ‘em to diet on their own time!

Seriously, if this is on your list for more than 3 years running, you need to do one of two things — either lose it so you’re healthy and feel good about yourself, or be at peace with it and enjoy life. The time we spend worrying, obsessing, talking and feeling lousy about this one only detracts from the time we could be nurturing the truly positive things in life that make us happy.

3.  Get more exercise:  This we could all stand to do no matter what our shape, size or weight, but…I am okay with my morning ‘run’ with the dog.  If I can get my heart rate up once a day (by something other than my credit card statement) I’m ready to call it good.  I’m Imagenot a gym person.  I have an aversion to Lycra. If I’m moving, it has to be to get from point A to point B with some sort of scenery involved other than exercise equipment and other sweaty bodies.  I guess it’s just my attention span, I need visual stimuli and a distraction other than the hands of a clock or lap counter.  I once visited a friend’s home located at the foot of the beautiful Sierra’s, on a glorious sunny spring day. Their house guest had pulled their tread mill out of the garage and onto the driveway so he could “enjoy the view” while he exercised.  WTF? I said to myself, why didn’t he just go out the back door and take a walk?

4.  Read more:  For an aspiring writer, I don’t read enough…at least not enough of the “right” stuff… ie: literature.  (and no, 50 Shades does not qualify. ) I’m rather proficient at People magazine, the evening newspaper, Facebook and the entertainment headlines on AOL, but Imageam a far cry from “voracious”, except as it pertains to my appetite. (see Item #2) I do always have a book on my nightstand but tend to drowsily slither through a few pages before I drop off every night.  Then I have to re-read half of it the following night to refresh my memory.  I’ve decided I need to turn off the Bachlorette and DWTS, (I can get the results for both on AOL the next morning) and go to bed when I’m still alert enough to actually comprehend what’s on the page. And my wonderful bookclub notwithstanding, it helps to have titles recommended from a good source (other than the 30% off bin at Costco.)

5.  Clean up my language:  No effing way, just ain’t gonna happen. If I think it, I write it.  Thankfully, there’s somewhat of a filter between my brain and my tongue so my spoken word isn’t quite as bad…unless I’m talking to Paige over a good glass of Sauvignon Blanc and her clam dip.  Then we both sound like lifers in Teamsters Local 468.

6.  Gossip less: …and you’ll never be the life of the party (and most certainly won’t be invited inDSC_0005 for clam dip.) I subscribe to the philosophy I saw on a bumper sticker once:  “If you don’t have anything nice to say…come sit next to me.”

If you’re one of those rare individuals who disdains this shallow-minded and wholly unproductive activity, you can sit with my other friend and share her grilled salmon and arugula salad.

7.   Drink more water and less alchohol: or is it the other way around?  I seem to alternate between the two so that’s considered balanced, right?

8.  Eat more vegetables: I like to think I’m a healthy eater but sometimes when I think about what I’ve consumed in a day, it all looks suspiciously beige.  The problem is that making a saladImage takes effort. If I’m at home during the day, it’s easier to grab a few Triscuits and slather on the Laughing Cow,  or my favorite 3-second standby, PB & J.  Dressing myself in the morning takes enough of my time, energy, and dexterity – I can’t be bothered to wash, spin and dress a salad too.

9.  Be more productive:  I can spend hours and hours doing god knows what and at the end of the day can’t tell you what I did.  I write, delete, re-write, save, delete two days later and by the end of the week think hmmm, what exactly have I accomplished?  It also exacerbates my #1 resolution.  I know it’s all part of the process, but sometimes I just feel better if I do some odd job like polishing the copper pots – at least then I can actually see the final result of my effort.

10.  And lastly and perhaps most importantly – be more forgiving of myself and my faults, and Imagemy inability to accomplish 1-9 in the same year.  We can only put our best effort forward, and if that fails…there’s always good friends, good wine and and great clam dip to get us through the remainder of the effing year.