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Secrets of a Successful New Year's Resolution-Maker

by Pat Beurteaux

There are really very few secrets, if the truth be told.

With any luck and a modicum of poor management, as one ages, there should be fewer things one can resolve to do.  Surely one has tried them all — or nearly.  If not, get going!

That makes the resolution exercise easier right off the bat.  After carrying out an audit on past activities, it is my sincere hope that you, Dear Readers, find that the list of the untried is very short, indeed.

Now I, perhaps, have a somewhat different view of resolutions.  Considering the daily carping we endure about eating, drinking, exercise, body shape, dressing, language usage,  financial responsibilities and other details, I feel the New Year is a time to give ourselves a break. 

Let’s face it — if we want to diet or finish the renovations or read more enlightening literature, we’ll do it.  Making a resolution makes a big deal about it — and practically guarantees failure.  It’s just human nature. 

On the other hand, resolving to do something that we’ve always wanted to do, and were planning on doing anyway — say, refuse to be dragooned into the sandwich-making squad for any event by anybody ever again (!) — then, you’re home and hosed.

For example, in 2005, I made a resolution to avoid having an affair with a married man and I was stunningly successful!  Not only did no married man tempt me, neither did any unmarried.  Where are they?  (I have mixed feelings about this now.)

Another little-known secret is that there are in fact a number of dates throughout the year that are considered the start of a new year.  Unlike the January-1-or-bust model, the majority of new year beginnings are lunar, so they fall on different dates.  This is a very handy thing in the resolution-making game because you can change your mind — several times. 

If last week’s resolution was made in the heat of the moment and you no longer feel the thrill, wait.  The Chinese New Year is just around the corner and it comes with animals!  Each animal having characteristics that foretell the kind of year this will be means you get some hints.  This year the New Year begins January 29 and it’s the Year of the Dog.  The Chinese New Year is also much more fun and a lot less desperate-feeling.

My personal favourite New Year is the Spring Solstice.  It’s much more sensible.  It’s the beginning of a new planting season and the Sun returns for longer periods every day.  Plants begin to appear and buds on trees to form and hibernating animals wake up and get busy.  It feels like a Beginning. 

Isn’t that what a New Year should feel like? 

Born and raised in a small Ontario town that became a large bedroom community post-war, Pat Beurteaux began her career as a primary school teacher, a career that permitted her to travel to Australia as a `working holidayer' in the mid-60s.  At that time any British Commonwealth citizen could travel and work in any other Commonwealth country under certain conditions; a good deal of fun was had by all.  

You may reach Pat by emailing


©2006 Pat Beurteaux for SeniorWomenWeb
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