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Advice from a serial goal setter

December 31, 2011

Hurray! We made it through another year – full of ups and downs and resolutions long forgotten. What happened in 2011, stays in 2011. But a brand new year has arrived and we have another chance to get it right.
Some wackos say it’s now or never since the Mayan Calendar mysteriously ends on Dec. 21, 2012.  They’ve been telling us that the world as we know it will also end on that day.
That theory has more holes than Swiss cheese, and I wouldn’t go out and spend my 401K simply because some tribal calendar writer got tired and quit his job.
For me, the new year starts tomorrow - never on New Year’s day. There are too many Christmas leftovers hanging around in the fridge to begin eating healthy which is always at the top of my exhaustive list of New Year’s intentions. 
And thank goodness the gym is closed today. I have one more day to practice my favorite hobby – hanging out comatose in front of the television set.
Other than being a healthier, happier person I plan to do the following this year: Go out to the community college and study how to become a plumber.
I wish I had done that in the beginning instead of studying journalism. It would be far more lucrative to be a sorry plumber instead of an undisciplined writer.  
After I master plumbing, I plan to study and become fluent in French, write a screen play and sell it to Hollywood, try out for cheerleader to the New Orleans Saints and dive the Great Barrier Reef. If I survive those intentions, I will learn to fly and build myself an airplane. 
Oh, yes. And after another Christmas dinner featuring dishes which were either overcooked or undercooked, my family is paying for me to enroll in a cooking school.
On second thought, I’ve learned that a long list of resolutions is a sure path to failure.
There’s a reason you see stories every February about how most people have already forgotten their resolutions by Valentine’s Day.   
I read that doing one small thing right causes 1,000 other little things to fall into place because of it. So this year I am focusing one thing at a time which is going to be fitness. In fact, I’m dubbing 2012 the Year of the War on Lethargy. 
I’ve been spending way too much time in my easy chair with a murder mystery and a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. All that lolling about has caused my jeans to shrink a full two sizes. What’s that about?
I’m also going to begin acting my age. Every time I realize I’m not 16 anymore, I’m surprised.
So for all you goal setters out there, I wish you a Happy New Year, and that all your troubles last as long as your new year’s resolutions.

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers reaching the Middle Ages. She welcomes comments at

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