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New Year’s resolutions for the cynical soul

Can I preface this by saying that New Year’s resolutions are about the stupidest things in the world?

I hold them in about the same regard as brushing my teeth with a grill cleaner or using Elmer’s glue as a substitute for sandwich spread.

But by and large, they don’t work. And the reason they don’t work is because we put too much emphasis on them.

The practice is an institution, though. I can’t very well tell people to stop doing it.

So then I got to thinking …

I can think of alternative ways to make resolutions and make them stick.

Resolution 1: “I’m going to work out, eat better and lose weight.” No, you’re not. You’ll do one or two, if that. Or all three in such earnest you’ll burn out on the idea in three weeks. So here’s what you do. You eat what you want, buy workout gear and count on most people to be dense enough to believe that just because you breeze by their house in jogging shorts, you’re chipping away at that belly fat. In case someone gets cute and mentions the fact that you’ve actually gotten bigger, use this phrase: “Well, muscle weighs more than fat.”

Resolution 2: “I’m going to stop swearing and go to church.” No you’re not. What you are going to do is watch televised services and then on Monday morning try to have an intelligent conversation about the pastor’s sermon on Revelation with your extremely religious co-worker. As far as the swearing, I actually have a little help. Use a completely innocent word with the same first letter as the word you want to say. Then chuckle to yourself as you realize the person sitting in the chair next has no idea what you’re talking about.

Resolution 3: “I’m going to stop smoking.” Wrooong. You’re actually going to smoke twice as much between Thanksgiving and Jan. 1, trying to convince yourself that this is one last indulgence before you send the cavalry in to save your lungs. Meanwhile, you are mindlessly giving your brain incentive to trick your body into thinking it needs more nicotine. Way to go, Einstein. This one is followed closely by …

Resolution 4: “I’m going to stop drinking.” Yeah, as soon as you awaken from the drunken stupor from the New Year’s party and collect the rest of your clothing. Then, because your best friend advised it’s the best way to ease that hangover, you’ll have another beer or Bloody Mary. Have both. You don’t have to go to work. It’s your liver, and you’ll do with it what you darn well please.

Resolution 5: “I’m going to be more charitable.” Then you look at your portfolio, and you’re like “Weeeeelllll …” I know, I know. Kind of hard to give to the needy when you’re one bad quarter away from being needy yourself. Of course, that’s all relative. Are people who watch their children dying from hunger less fortunate than people who have to downgrade from the premium cable package to basic? Hard to make a call on that one.

Resolution 6: “I’m going to show more appreciation for the people I love.” By e-mailing them George L. Jones’ column every week. What? You don’t think that’ll be a perfect pick-me-up? Fine, do the whole family togetherness and verbal expression of love thing. Just as long as you mean what you say and put care into what you do, everything will be all right.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve to go buy some spandex pants and light beer. This is gonna be ugly.