THIS YEAR has been historic for our country. In my house, however, it has been pretty much the same as always.
Don't believe me? Check out the resolutions I made at the end of 2007.
The first was to spend the first couple of months of the year eating junk while sitting down to write for hours at a time, knowing that I would gain weight. You'll be happy to know that I succeeded.
My second resolution was to think hard about spring cleaning, but to do nothing. Again, I was successful.
Resolution three was to recommit to fitness by summer, and that's exactly what I did. I swore off Dunkin' Donuts coffee with cream and sugar, avoided the McDonald's drive-thru, and stopped eating triple cheesesteaks. I ran nine miles a week at the track. A couple of months later, when autumn leaves began to fall, I looked for an excuse to stop.
"You're getting skinny," LaVeta said.
As I made my way to the drive-thru, I thanked heaven for my wife's timely assessment. It allowed me to make good on my final resolution.
That resolution was to backslide, to go back to all the people, places and things that made me gain weight in the first place. Judging by the size of my Christmas gut, I think I've pretty much succeeded.
I've lived 2008 exactly the way I wanted. If you're looking for me to make more resolutions, you're wasting your time. The fact is, my annual behavior is like directions on a shampoo bottle: lather, rinse, repeat.
Some people may think that that's silly. They may think that I should make more challenging resolutions. The reality is, most people do exactly what I do. They just don't know it.
Take the Eagles, for example. My favorite team has done pretty much the same thing every year for the past decade. They get us all excited at the draft (well, except when they trade away first-round picks), tell us they've acquired a slew of free agents and play some impressive games in the fall. Toward the end of the season, they lose a couple they should win. Then they tell us they're off by a hair.
The pattern is so ingrained that I'm beginning to think that it's some kind of resolution. I can hear them in the front office now:
"I know what we can do this year. We can look Super Bowl-worthy by beating the Steelers and Giants, and then . . . get this . . . we can score three points against the Redskins!"
"Somebody write that down! It's brilliant!"
Big business does the same annual dance. They tell us that their products are new and improved. They then try to sell us the same old crap. They make lots of money pushing stuff that's worthless. When it all comes crashing down around them, they come back to the little guy to rescue them.
The difference between me and the big boys is that I know that a resolution can't change my behavior. I'm not going to go on the diet of life and regain the body I had in my twenties. I'm not going to fight my way to the top of the corporate ladder with lots of boardroom butt-kissing. I'm not going to acquire the perfect marriage by mastering the phrase, "Yes, Dear." Nope. I'm just going to be me.
That means I'll occasionally exercise enough to look good, but I'm not gonna do what it takes to be Mr. Universe. I can clean the whole house in a pinch, but please, don't look in that corner of the basement where I hide all the junk.
Here's the bottom line: In 2009, I resolve to do exactly what I did in 2008: work hard, love hard and be the best dad and husband I can be. If I can do those things successfully, I deserve all the Quarter Pounders I want. *
Solomon Jones' column appears every Saturday. He can be reached at