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A New Approach to Eating the Elephant

I’m avoiding the traditional formality of making New Year’s resolutions.  I’m done with that. Trying to come up with an improvement plan for an entire year doesn’t work for me.  The best part is I’ve finally come to terms with it and there is no guilt.  It took me long enough.

As far back as I can remember I would sit down and set goals as soon as the Christmas clutter was cleared.   My children couldn’t escape my obsession with this ceremony and after the composing was complete, copies were carefully slid into individual Christmas stockings.  It was anything but joyful to pull out our stowed away stockings a year later only to be reminded that we hadn’t accomplished a thing.   Not easily discouraged, I would repeat this ritual, finally noticing how each year’s list was basically a duplication of the year before.  One item showed up on my list consistently, written with renewed hope; “Catch up on the baby books”.  (For those of you who are not old enough to know what a baby book is, it’s an old-fashioned way of keeping memories, generally replaced today by digital photo books.) Just for the record, I never did catch up.  Six babies and not one completed book.  That should have been the first clue that making resolutions was hopeless.

Still, with a determined heart, I would sit down and think of all the ways I would like to improve each year.  Lose weight, study more, exercise, improve a talent, serve better, develop patience.  The list was endless.  And impossible.  When something hasn’t worked for fifty years, maybe it’s time to change the plan.

So, this year I am making resolutions, one day at a time.  “Just for today I will, or will not . . . “, gradually nibbling instead of stuffing my mouth and choking.  I can keep track of daily goals.  They are easily measured, and if not accomplished, well, there is tomorrow.

Claudia Bretzing

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