OFTEN, NEW YEAR’S resolutions that seem like a good idea on New Year’s Eve can seem like a bad idea in the harsh light of the following New Year’s morning.
Traditionally, many of us break our New Year’s resolutions before the first Christmas bills arrive anyway.
Every New Year’s resolution we make is one more we can break.
The secret to making and keeping New Year’s resolutions is to set realistic goals and expectations for the coming year.
With the global pandemic, looming recession and continued global strife, the sooner you realize your expectations are unrealistic the better.
There can be no better time than the present to adjust our view of outdated New Year’s resolutions.
I tried them all and failed — saving you the trouble and keeping you from making the same mistakes.
So here are a few of the most popular New Year’s resolutions from past years that we should all avoid making in these troubled times.
• Getting out of debt: That’s stupid.
With interest rates at an all-time low, getting out of debt makes absolutely no sense to anyone except the people you owe money to.
You simply need to look at debt in a more positive perspective. Don’t think of debt as a sign-post on the road to financial ruin. Debt is a measure of the esteem with which others regard you.
Our national debt is $27 trillion and climbing. Consumer debt is currently 102 percent of our gross domestic product, which means our debt is larger than the economy.
Just because everyone else is in debt, does that make it right?
The answer is yes!
• Get a puppy: According to PETA, this is a selfish desire to possess and receive love from an animal that causes immeasurable suffering and deprives them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior.
Not only are puppies hard to find during a pandemic, they are expensive.
Getting a puppy may be a good way to increase your debt — if you don’t mind the stress of watching all of your material possessions being systematically destroyed. Don’t do it.
• Travel more: After decades of giving billions of dollars of foreign aid to nations around the world, most of them hate our guts anyway, no matter how much money we give them.
These days, few other countries will tolerate Americans now that we are the Typhoid Mary of the global village.
Traveling around our own country is expensive and a great way to get further in debt, but how can you go anywhere now that you have a puppy?
• Learning new things can be another dead-end road to nowhere, since the more you learn, the more there is to know.
Learning new things is a vicious cycle that can leave you feeling ignorant.
Given the sense of frustration, futility and failure ingrained in the New Year’s resolution ritual, perhaps the best New Year’s resolution is to do nothing.
You can do nothing to ensure you make and maintain a transformative, life-changing New Year’s resolution for the coming year.
For example, last year my New Year’s resolutions were to get a better job and get better friends.
After a year of trying, I could do nothing to get a better job or better friends.
Modern science is only just now discovering the benefits of doing nothing.
Doing nothing is a good way to maintain social distancing.
You can do nothing to avoid being infected with COVID-19.
Maybe it’s time we all resolved to join the millions of other Americans, like me, that are already doing nothing.
There’s nothing like it!
Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing and rafting guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.
He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via [email protected].