I'VE NEVER been one to make New Year's resolutions.
I prefer my failures in small increments, so I make my resolutions weekly, and they usually come at the urging of my wife.
How does it work, you ask? Well, sometimes she corners me at dinner, mere moments after the children have welcomed me home like a conquering hero.
"Solomon, when are you gonna vacuum the inside of that car?" she'll ask, knowing that I must commit to doing it, or risk shattering the little ones' view of their father.
"Next week," I'll say, fully intending to do so.
If next week comes, and the car's still dirty, my resolution has been broken. That's a terrible feeling, though not as bad as the one I'd get after telling the world that I'd lose 15 pounds by year's end, and instead gaining 30.
Of course, there are people who don't mind that yearlong sinking feeling. They're the ones who make grand New Year's resolutions, break them by Jan. 7, then blame it on unrealistic expectations. By doing it that way, they can totally commit to being losers for the next 358 days.
Well, I think I've found a way to make New Year's resolutions achievable for everyone. Rather than lying to ourselves about what we won't do, we should tell the truth about what we will. That way, we can all be winners next New Year's.
To demonstrate how this new method works, I've decided to share my resolutions with the reading public. If you are squeamish, a health nut or under the age of 18, please turn the page now. You may be permanently scarred by what you're about to read.
During the first two months of 2008, I resolve to eat all the junk I want. I will do push-ups, but no cardio. I will sit for hours while writing books, columns and webisodes. I will not eat vegetables unless every single vitamin has been removed through a combination of overcooking and pork-based seasoning.
I will get fat, and I'll like it.
At the first sign of spring, I resolve to look at my lawn, knowing that I should be tilling soil, laying fertilizer and planting seed. I resolve to think hard about spring cleaning. When tumbleweed-sized pollen balls gather at the side of the road, I will consider visiting the local drug store. But I won't. I will simply sit at my desk, type on my laptop, sneeze uncontrollably and pray for the return of those lazy winter days.
When summer comes, I resolve to look down at my winter gut, and panic. No more coffee at Dunkin' Donuts. No more all-beef patties at McDonald's. No more triple-cheese cheesesteaks. I will repeatedly mention weightlifting, but never make it to the gym.
I will buy a new pair of running shoes and run three miles a day. Along the way, my knees will begin to ache, and I will look for an excuse to stop.
In autumn, when my wife remarks about the extent of my annual summer weight loss, I resolve to backslide, and go back to all the people, places and things that make me who I am. First, I'll order an extra-large coffee with cream and sugar, with two doughnuts on the side. Next, I'll eat beef for three days straight. Finally, I'll return to my favorite drive-through, and order a No. 2, super-sized.
By the time next New Year's Eve rolls around, I'll be ready. When people start to ask about resolutions at the overpriced New Year's bash, I'll raise my triple-thick milk shake and propose a heartfelt toast.
"To resolutions!" I'll say with a self-satisfied grin. "May yours be as easy to keep as mine have been." *
Solomon Jones appears every Saturday.