How Are Those New Year’s Resolutions Going?

by Bob Sparrow

Resolutions (1)It’s only half-past January and statistically 46% of you have made New Year resolutions that are now 100% in jeopardy. The rest of you didn’t bother to make any resolutions, so once again our blog will be useless to you. For those still reading, as a public service, ‘From A Bird’s Eye View’ is offering simple, yet ineffective ways to approach your resolutions this year.

First, let’s look at the word resolution – it come from the root word ‘resolve’.

(ri-zolv) a transitive verb (duh, who didn’t know that?) of Middle English/Latin origin, originally meaning to dissolve, melt or loosen.

Inexplicably, over time, this word has come to mean ‘to come to a definite or earnest decision about’.   So essentially the meaning has changed from ‘loose’ to ‘definite’ – with this kind of beginning, it’s no wonder resolutions are so hard to keep. But let’s not let semantics get in the way of our resolve to help you attain or forget those resolutions you so optimistically made just a few weeks ago.

I’ve done a little research and, in order of popularity, here are the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions nationwide, Top 10followed by what some have said are insightful, others have dubbed useless, suggestions that could help make this year different . . . or not.

  1. Weight loss – by far the most resolved lie of every New Year. This harkens back to the original meanings of ‘definite’ and ‘loosen’, as in you’ll ‘definitely’ be ‘loosening’ your belt. Statistically, middle-aged to older adults gain between 6-8 pounds per year (women a little more than men – sorry ladies), so in order to lose weight, you not only have to lose the extra weight you already carry around, but lose the weight you don’t even have yet! Not fair. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to lose weight again this year, so just buy bigger clothes so you ‘feel’ thinner.
  1. Improve finances – Unless you have a plan to win the lotto, get a different job, are in line for a big promotion, have a rich relative with a bloody cough, or are delusional about how the government is going to help you, this is not a resolution, it’s a wish. Want to improve your finances? Stop buying those $5 lattes every morning! And just so you know, statistically, right after you win the lotto you’ll be struck by lightning.
  1. Exercise more – This is a trap resolution, if you don’t exercise at all, lifting another glass of wine would be exercising more, so here’s a real tip: Don’t underestimate the power of the walk. Every day, start at your house and walk 10 minutes down the road, then walk back. That’s it! If a bar or a Baskin-Robbins is 10 minutes down the road, walk the other way.
  1. Get a new job – Many who read our blog are either retired or too far down the road in their careers to genuinely consider this resolution, so reword this one to say, ‘Get spouse a job’.
  1. Healthier eating – The list of foods that are healthy and unhealthy for you continues to change on a regular basis; so let me make this simple; assume the foods you’re currently eating are or will be on the ‘healthy’ list and continue to eat  them, and drink . . . more water and less alcohol. Wait a minute, did I just suggest you drink less alcohol? Forget that, but do drink more water.
  1. Manage stress better – this resolution assumes a) you have stress and b) you’ve been managing it poorly. It’s been reported that a certain amount of stress is actually good for you, so this year assume that whatever stress you have, is good for you. There now, doesn’t that feel better already?

7. Stop or reduce smoking –If you are still smoking, you already know that cigarettes contain more than 70 cancer-causing chemical compounds, which along with second-hand smoke, significantly affects yours and other’s respiratory organs and immune systems and that half of all long-term smokers will die of tobacco-related death. So there’s nothing that I’m going to write here that’s going to convince you to stop. However, if your doctor has told you, like mine has, that your body is actually low on the tar and nicotine found in Cuban cigars, then smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

  1. Improve a relationship – If you’re bad at relationships, which statistically all of us men are and we just don’t know it, start with something simple, like improving the relationship with your dog. Let him know that you’ve peed on the carpet a few time yourself, of course you spent the night in the doghouse, but it was like camping with your dog. Just remember that your dog will forgive you long before your spouse will.

9. Stop procrastinating – I’ve got a lot of stuff on this, but I’ll get it to you later.

  1. Stop/reduce drinking alcohol – I think this one was worded incorrectly, it should read, Stop reducing alcohol drinking. This raises several questions:
    1. What alcohol has the best affect on your health?
    2. If some amount of alcohol is actually good for you, isn’t more better?
    3. Can I actually drink someone handsome or pretty?
    4. How does alcohol actually improve my personality?
    5. Does alcohol really make me invisible sometimes?
    6. Why does alcohol make me sing better?

wine arobicsI think the key here is to remember that whatever the question, wine is probably the answer!


However you’re managing your resolutions this year and even if you didn’t make any, the good news is that January is almost over and then no one will be talking about resolutions anymore.



By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Watch out!  They're everywhere this month.

Watch out! They’re everywhere this month.

So, here we are at the beginning of another year.  You might expect me to write about my new year’s resolutions or, like last year, what I won’t do this year.  Apparently there are a lot of people who have made resolutions because just last week on the way to work I saw THREE joggers on a street that has been devoid of all human movement for a year. And my husband reported that our gym has been packed all week.  I’m taking his word for it and steering clear.  After all, it’s flu season and who knows what I could pick up in a gym.  Sitting on the sofa eating Doritos seems a whole lot healthier when you really think about it.  So while the rest of the world is working diligently on their new year’s tasks, I’ve decided that I’m done with resolutions. I’ve finally come to accept that I’m not going to keep any of them so I’m saving myself the trouble this year by skipping the whole process.  Sure, I could resolve to drink wine and eat chocolate but that seems like cheating the whole system.  Still, it seemed strange to start a new year without any  thought to how I might mark it.  And then I stumbled on the “Memory Jar”.

Frankly, I don’t remember where I read about the “Memory Jar” because, well, it was last week and I’m at an age where I can’t remember if I ate dinner last night.  The concept of it is to remember all of the important, and not so important, events of a year.  Then, on December 31, when you say “Gee, what in the heck happened to 2015?”, you can go to the jar and remind yourself.  In other words, instead of actually jogging this year, you will be figuring out a way to jog your memory instead.   So for those of you who share my memory challenges, here’s how you can create your own Memory Jar 2015.

First, let’s be clear that this is NOT a device to remember that you got married, had grandchildren or any other major life event.  If you’re beyond remembering those highlights perhaps rather than reading the rest of this blog your time might be better spent investigating “homes”.  We’re just going to assume that you’ll remember the BIG stuff.  The Memory Jar is for all of the little things that happen that tend to be forgotten as the weeks and months go by. Although, frankly, it’s YOUR jar so far be it from me to tell you what to put in it.

A colorful Memory Jar

A colorful Memory Jar

You’ll want to find a fairly big jar – a year can be a long time and you don’t want to run out of room.  An empty container from Costco might be just the ticket.  You can decorate it or not, but you at least should label it “Memory Jar” so that no one uses it for a urine sample before you can fill it up.  Then the fun begins.  Write down the things that make you laugh or bring tears of joy,  basically any moment that you don’t want to forget, then put the slip of paper in your Memory Jar.  You can make note of things people said or did that seem memorable.  For example, grandkids are always coming up with some funny phrase.  Ours once said (after asking my husband’s age) “Gee, you’re really tall“.  Of course he meant “old”.  We still laugh about it and now I wish I could remember how old he was when he said it.  If I’d had a memory jar I’d have my answer.  A memory jar is also a great place to put theater or movie tickets, perhaps with a notation of where you went to dinner that night or who you were with.   Or maybe the cork from a bottle of wine you shared with good friends.  You can put their names, the place and the date on the cork and just slip it in the jar.  The “jar” is also a good place for a photo or newspaper clipping that you want to remember.  You get the idea – put anything in there that brings you joy in the moment.

Then next December 31 open up your jar, either alone or with family and friends, and read or view each piece of paper.  Hopefully it will provide some good memories, laughs and maybe a tear.  In any event, you won’t have to wonder where the year went – you’ll know!

As far as New Year’s traditions go, I’m thinking that a Memory Jar sounds a whole lot better than jogging.


By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

New yearsI operate under the illusion that I am a fully functioning, rational adult.  That could be the root of my problem.  Here I sit, two days before the new year, convinced that 2014 is going to be a GREAT year.  I’ve polled a few of my friends and their sentiment is exactly the same – they all are looking forward to 2014 with great optimism and hope.  We will NOT have any of the problems we experienced in that nasty old 2013, no sir.  2014 will be perfect.

What is it about human nature that we completely suspend reality at the beginning of each year?  We forget that life’s road is bumpy and that each year brings with it some amount of problems and worries.  Heck, at our age, every doctor’s appointment holds the possibility of being a life-altering event.  And we forget that the world around us (especially in a year with mid-term elections) can be a very hard place to find comfort and joy.  So this year, in an effort to be more grounded, I am not making any resolutions that are high-minded or completely unrealistic. I’ve decided to make some resolutions of what I won’t do in the new year.  Here’s a sampling:


1.  I will NOT exercise every day.  Every year I say I will and every year I fail.  One year I made it all the way through April.  That year was 1966.  Ever since then I can’t even get through the month of January without sitting on my butt for hours eating Doritos and watching TV.   So this year I am setting myself up for success – I vow to exercise when I feel like it.  Hopefully that will be something more than once a week but I’m not making any rash promises.

2.  I will NOT eat healthy every day.  Although I do consume more than my fair share of kale salad and green smoothies, I hate that I feel guilty when I eat something resolutionswonderfully sugary or packed with carbs.  So…in 2014 I pledge to do my best, keeping in mind that there were probably several women on the Titanic who in their last moments thought, “Damn!  I should have had that chocolate cake!”

3.  I will NOT get organized.  This year I bought one of those P-Touch label makers.  I set up a color-coded filing system and labeled every folder.  Then I made labels for a bank of  switches so I finally could distinguish between mood lighting, overhead beams and the window shades.  Perfect.  But then I took it too far – I labeled the hair dryer, the spice rack and the toaster.  My husband never stayed around me long for fear he would end up with a label.  So in 2014 I will not attempt to organize.  Instead, I will seek professional counseling for what is obviously my OCD problem.

4.  I will NOT watch Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo-Boo or Miley Cyrus.  This one is pretty easy because I don’t follow those people now but since they are constantly on the news I shall vow to avert my eyes when they appear.  Also, in 2014 I will not be Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  Except the whole “Bruce Jenner wants to be a woman” thing.  I met him once in 1977 at a cocktail party and he was the very essence of manhood and virility.  So watching him get his Adam’s Apple shaved and wear women’s undergarments could hold a certain fascination that will prove irresistible.

I think these resolutions are sufficiently low.  In fact, I’m feeling confident that this year I will accomplish all of my goals. Optimism runs rampant today because, like many of you, I look at January 1st as a fresh beginning. My slate wiped clean of any problems, with only great possibilities spread out before me in the coming 12 months.  Today I believe that all things are possible.  Today I believe that the new year will bring contentment, good times and I will finally be able to discard my “fat clothes”.

Here’s to a wonderful 2014 to us all.  May your year be filled with good health, good friends and good times. And may all of your resolutions be fulfilled – no matter how low you set the bar!   Happy New Year!!!!

2014 Jahreswechsel, Neujahr

Turn Bad Resolutions Into Better Resolutions

By Bob Sparrow

Some of you have already put your New Year’s resolutions on paper; hopefully they’re in pencil.  Most of us have had some vague ideas rattling around in our heads about how we’d resolve, no, how we’d ‘wish’ this new year would be different from anything we’ve ever experienced in the past.  The fact is, while there is typically a lot of ‘resolutioning’ going on at this time of year, there is very little that is actually resolved.  I’m not trying to be a downer here; I’m just trying to keep you from another year of disappointments – resolution after resolution succumbing to reality sometime in January, or if you’re lucky, February.  I therefore offer you a guide for keeping your resolutions . . . real.

Bad Resolution: I’m going to lose weight  The average American adult gains about 2 pounds per year; the average gain in weight over the holidays is about 5 pounds.  Even if you got one of those oxymoronic diseases where you painfully, but thankfully lost 10 pounds while feeling miserable, you’ll go right back to your poor diet and lack of exercise as soon as you’re healthy enough to sit up and eat a bag of chips.

Better Resolution: Fat people are jolly, resolve to be jollier.

Bad Resolution: I’m going to join a gym  This is part of the above lie you’ve told yourself about being healthier this year.  Gyms prey on people like you in January with deals to get you in the door – they know you’ll never keep it up, you know you’ll never keep it up, but you resolve that this year is going to be different.  It’s not; save the $29 ‘special offer’ and all the money you’ll spend on ‘I’m looking good’ work out gear.

Better Resolution: Walk to the nearest gym, look at all the saps who were duped this year, walk home and enjoy a Cinnabon. 

I’m going to spend more time with the kids:  This assume that the other demands on your time are going to diminish – they’re not.  You love your kids, you want to spend more time with them, but are you going to work less, play less golf, miss your favorite TV show?  No.  Besides, you’re kids are getting older and they want to spend less time with you, but will want to see you when they need money.

Better Resolution: Spend ‘quality’ time with the kids, whatever that is and keep cash handy.

I’m going to be better at work:  A mere turning of the calendar page is not going to make you a better employee or employer.  Yes, you can agree to treat Dottie in accounting a little better, but you know she’s going to piss you off when she asks for all those expense receipts.  And the only way you’re going to become a better salesman this year is if the economy gets better.

Better Resolution: Try to keep your job.

I’m going to be a better person: This is sort of the ‘catch all’ resolution; it’s great because it’s vague enough to keep you unaccountable.  It can encompass everything from being a better spouse (this is fine until you realize that your partner hasn’t made the same resolution) to finding god (if he wanted you to find him, don’t you think he or she could make that happen?).

Better Resolution: Don’t perpetuate any of that Internet drivel that tells you you’ll have 17 years of bad luck if you don’t pass it along in the next 15 minutes to your 50 closest friends.

Hope this helps, you’ll thank me in February.  Happy Same Old Year.  The reality is we like you just the way you are.  OK, we’d like to see a few changes, but that ain’t gonna happen.