Friday, February 6, 2009

It’s about that time of the year

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool. – F M Knowles

What is special about February? February was named after the Latin term februum, which means purification. February is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the shortest month. It is also the month when Valentine’s Day is celebrated. But more importantly, it is about that time of the year when New Year resolutions are broken, if not already forgotten.

There is nothing more synonymous with New Year than New Year resolutions. It sounds funny to me that people actually believe they will be able to change old habits and create new ones overnight. On 31st December night, the person is fat and lazy and goes to bed late and fully drunk. From the time he wakes up on 1st January morning, he expects to lose weight, be more hard working and give up drinking. Can 6 to 7 hours of careless sleep change a person so dramatically for Pete’s sake? Rather, for their own sake?

After hearing people talk about their resolutions, it is obvious to me that they think it is fashionable to make resolutions. The New Year resolutions of people make me chuckle and vindicates my theory that the world is a lot funnier than we think. The real scenario of a New Year resolution is something like this – “Dear Lord, So far this year I've done well. I haven't gossiped, I haven't lost my temper. I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I'm very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, Lord, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on I'm probably going to need a lot more help. Amen.”

I think that a New Year's resolution is something that goes in one ‘year’ and out the other. My guess is that people would have forgotten all about them by February. This is the time people end up making a 'new start' to their 'old habits'. As Oscar Wilde said resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.

A few years ago, I resolved to be more decisive. But I could not decide on any other resolutions though! But since then, my resolution has been not to make resolutions. So I have made no new resolutions for this year too. My computer’s resolution remains at 1280X800, while by DSLR’s is 12.2 MP. The act of making plans, setting deadlines, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is something that my wife does on a daily basis for me. But things have changed this year. My wife’s New Year resolution this year was to stop telling me what to do all the time. Just that along with her resolution, she made mine too!

I believe one doesn’t need an excuse to start or stop something that one believes in. But there is nothing wrong in making a resolution (any time of the year!) if one intends to stick to it. Like my friend who insisted that she would not make any resolutions this year, since she was still working on all those she made in the previous years. In fact, if you look carefully, there is a solution lurking in re’solution’ itself.

One way is to keep the resolutions realistic, like this – ‘When I thought about the evils of drinking in the New Year, I gave up thinking.’ or ‘I resolve that I am not going to the moon unless space travel becomes really affordable.’ Instead, people end up making resolutions like this – ‘My New Year resolution is to stand up for myself. But if you think that's stupid, let me think of another one.’

It may be a good idea to break resolution into phases as follows – Peter, at a New Year's party, turns to his friend, Pan, and asks for a cigarette. 'I thought you made a New Year resolution to quit smoking,' Pan responds. 'I am in the process of quitting,' replies Peter with a grin, 'Right now, I am in the middle of phase one.' 'Phase one?' wonders Pan. 'Yeah,' laughs Peter, 'I've quit buying.'

Discipline is the other important ingredient to make a resolution work. Few years back, a colleague announced in February that he had resolved to go on a 'sea food' diet and have been successful so far. He had the admiring glances of everybody till he let out his secret, “Whenever I see food, I eat it!”

Another effective way to make resolutions work is to set it up for a month instead of for a year. This also gives you the opportunity to break it twelve times a year. If your integrity is really low or you are of a weak heart, you could go for weekly resolutions. Just to clarify, that is not the reason why I make daily resolutions! A friend of mine told me last month that his New Year resolution was to procrastinate less this year. “But today is already January 11th” I told him. “See, I am getting better already. I made the same resolution last year on January 26th.”

Having condemned New Year resolutions and given you tips on how to keep a resolution, here’s wishing that all your troubles last only as long as your New Year resolutions!


Usha Pisharody said...

Now, I really needed this, as I am having a problem with re"solution", on a whole lot of a heck of things :)

I am comforted entirely by this wonderful view you have presented :D! I am also glad I belong to those who are in the process of.... whatever :)

Gladder still, that I am working on all those resolutions of an aeon ago, so that I have no more space to add on the list of resolution.

And finally, it is redemption this post gives... that I can happily forget, all those solutions to re'solve' problems any and everywhere, till the next New Year!

Thank you!!!

[You rock O Salil!!
Now you know, why I give you awards :)

By the way that was a lovely, touching, acceptance speech...! I haven't got around to thanking you formally for that yet :)]

Devika Jyothi said...

I don't make resolutions any other time of the year,

But On December 31 midnight -- i make one. and just see how it works..and how I work with it....just for the fun of it all :)

I loved the cartoon..and post -- interesting as always...

I would like to have discussion with FM Knowles, if that were possible :)


Anonymous said...

Hey buddy I had made a few resolutions and I think I am on course.Don't put ideas into my mind and make me change course.

Usha Pisharody said...

@my earlier comment... Sorry for a mix up reg. an acceptance speech I had written about... :)

[By the way that was a lovely, touching, acceptance speech...! I haven't got around to thanking you formally for that yet :)]

That was for another blogger who's posting name is who thinks like me.. and I, in my haste, presumed it to be yours... :)

Do excuse me!

Mampi said...

Thankfully, I did not work on any solution or resolution this year.

Your posts always leave me the new year.

ramesh sanijeeth sadasivam said...

Both funny as well as thought provoking. I like such stuff. Have you read "CHO" Ramaswamy's articles? (Tamil). They would be very funny on the outer, but very profound.

Anonymous said...

interesting thoughts, I totally agree that resolutions have become more of a fashion and less of an edification.
Your blog is interesting to ready, i like it.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Another of your gems, Salil. I totally agree with the art of not making them! However, I did make some this year, and as they were rather simple ones, I've even fulfilled a couple of them!! And, I loved your concept of monthly resolutions...makes them more attainable.

sansmerci said...

haha good one.. funny but really inspiring :)

Roopa said...

I really am intrigued at how you go about writing a post. Do you keep all the points, the one-liners, and the humorous asides at hand or do they occur to you as you type?? Every paragraph of yours has at least a couple of witticisms and an out-of-the-box way of looking at things. I admire your skill Salil.

Gazal said...

abs agree with you....

why restrict yourself to just one resolution thro the year...

brand new one for each month....that way you wont even remember what was Jan resoltion when you reach Dec.

Devika Jyothi said...

Salil, It's about time for a new one :)

see you posting soon :)


Anonymous said...

"I think that a New Year's resolution is something that goes in one ‘year’ and out the other"
That's why I never make any! :-))

Santosh PM said...

Come on Salil, we want more!! Its been 3 weeks since you posted this one.

Gauri said...

lol !! Good one ..i have been a chronic resolution maker till now. This year my resolution was to not make any ;)
I have been following your blog for a bit now ...and one of the thoughts that came to my mind today was - your wife dosent read your blog ever does she ?:);)
Keep up the writing Salil.

Salil said...

I am glad that this post would have lessened the burden of the unfinished resolutions. That is the advantage of calling the rules wrong, so that you don’t have to abide by them.
And maybe next year, you should resolve not to confuse between bloggers :-)

Considering that you make one resolution every New Year eve, you should now probably have those many resolutions. Wondering how many habits you have that need change! *evil grin*

Not sure how you can come up with ‘few’ resolutions every year, assuming you achieve them. I am assuming that you are not carrying them forward, in which case it is a futile exercise.
Good luck with them, anyway.

Good for you. I believe you are better off without the guilt feeling of having broken them.

Thanks buddy. I have not read ‘Cho’, but have seen his ‘Arattai Arangam’ a few times.

Welcome to this space and thank you for your comments. Hope to see you around.

Salil said...

Glad to hear somebody achieving their resolutions. Probably they were something you would have achieved even without the resolutions – just my guess.

Thank you from the blogger currently known as Sal :-)

Well, some secrets are better not shared. What is important is that it keeps you all entertained. And, thank you. *takes a bow*

People don’t remember the resolution while continuing with their ‘actions’ or ‘habits’ they resolved to change, they remember the resolution after the action. Glad you agree.

Good for you. The resolutions leave a bitter feeling of guilt and nothing else.

Ha, there’s one resolution you managed to keep. Next year, make one to eat unhealthy food. The following year, not to read a book. Keep them realistic and enjoy the feeling of achieving resolutions :-)
What a silly question – have you ever seen a wife who leaves a husband unmonitored, ha!

There you go. New one has been posted.

Devika Jyothi said...

Change and Me!?

Change is for others--
I will be the way I am! :))

oh no dear Salil -- so much to change! I go crank thinking of it! :))


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