The New Year, realistically
This year, I’m going to stop drinking.
For a month.
Starting Aug. 1.
We all want to lose a little weight, quit drinking, quit smoking, eat healthier, be nicer, improve relationships, learn a new sport or language, read more, talk less, drive slower, work faster … you know the drill.
For obvious reasons, Jan. 1 is the magical day when we decide to implement our new personal expectations. It’s the time when we wipe the debauchery slate clean from the previous year and start anew.
While the gin scale-back above might not be a typical feel-good New Year’s resolution, I know it’s one I can keep. I don’t even like gin that much ” it’ll be a cinch.
A resolution, after all, is defined as a “firm determination.” It’s not something you’re supposed to change your mind about.
Casting about for opinions on the matter, I discovered that many locals don’t think resolutions are etched in stone.
“I think that not enough people stay true to their New Year’s resolutions,” says Donovan Sornig, a bartender at The George, in Vail Village.
Count me in that group. In fact, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions; never have. I think one year back in high school I said I’d eat less pizza or something. I can’t remember if I stuck to it.
To me, New Year’s resolutions are too lofty, and most of us just get disappointed in ourselves for not following through.
“I think (New Year’s resolutions) are good if you have to accomplish something,” says Bill Moss, a store manager at Pepi Sports. Moss says he never makes a New Year’s resolution, but adds that if he did, it would be to ski more days.
Now that’s something many people in this valley can relate to. It’s not nearly as difficult as saying we’ll overhaul our diets this year in an effort to lose weight, but skiing more days might also help us shed some pounds ” a happy, yet functional and realistic resolution.
Sornig says he’d like to try to stop talking about himself in the third person after he’s had a couple of cocktails. It’s a reasonable expectation of oneself.
Remember, if you set the bar low, success is almost certain.
Steven Klehfoth, a salesman at Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards, wants to be more ambitious with his eating habits. He’s fallen into a rut of eating the same sandwich meats and frozen chicken every week. In 2008, he’d like to opt for fresher ingredients and spend a little more time preparing his meals.
“I don’t think enough before (grocery) shopping,” he says. “I get the same things every time. I make easy, uncreative culinary decisions.”
For Klehfoth, the resolution could be to make a grocery list. It’s easier than trying to overwhelm himself by striving to choose more wisely when perusing the grocery store aisles.
One 20-something at a Vail bar recently said her New Year’s resolution is to stop taking her shirt off when she gets drunk in bars.
Seems like an achievable goal, but maybe for her, eschewing topless tippling is as difficult as pursuing a healthier diet is for someone else.
When I think about the things that make me happy in life ” snowboarding, friends, family, wine, food and bubble baths, among other things ” it seems like my New Year’s resolutions should incorporate those things, rather than strive to eliminate them.
But even the pursuit of more happiness can present a conundrum in our happy valley.
“I have more fun than anyone I know,” says Mason Davey, 30, who sells art in Vail Village. “My resolution can’t be to have more fun.”
But Davey does recognize a resolution doesn’t always have to be about oneself. After thinking about something he would like to change in his life next year, the choice was obvious: go back home to Minnesota more often to visit his niece and nephew.
That’s something that requires a little bit of effort, but it’s definitely possible.
“People need to set (their resolutions) to something reachable,” he says. “If they don’t, they’re just being ridiculous.”
It’s not so ridiculous to reach toward subtle changes in life around the New Year. For someone who never exercises and eats fast food daily, turning vegan and exercising five days a week is probably not going to happen.
Maybe it starts with changing the items you order at that fast-food restaurant first, and gradually working toward eliminating the food altogether from your diet. If you’re into greasy hamburgers, switch to grilled chicken sandwiches first before you try to make tofu and whole grains the two main food groups in your diet.
“There’s no need to set a goal too high for your standards,” Davey says.
If you can do a good deed a day, then by all means, go for it.
But if learning cusswords in several languages sounds more up your alley, that’s a perfectly respectable goal, too.
“Wherever you set (your) bar,” Davey says, “that’s what you need to achieve.”
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.