When the holiday is over, the presents have been put away, and the leftover roast has been made into soup, thereís a part of me that just wants to savor it all. To snuggle up on the couch with the kids in my new pjs, nibbling from the tin of stale Christmas cookies, basking in the glow of the dying Christmas tree, watching movie marathons until my eyeballs bleed.
These days, thereís so much hustle and bustle associated with the holidays, itís nice to linger a while. Let it all sink in. Take a moment to stop and appreciate the richness of our military life, our Families and our traditions, before another hectic year is in full swing.
However, thereís another part of me that gets antsy. Like the plaque accumulating in my arteries from too much cheese dip, or the needles piling up under the tree, or the mounting credit card bills ó the holiday builds. By midnight on New Yearís Eve, Iím ready to purge.
Itís all I can do to make it through the obligatory pork-and-sour-kraut on New Yearís Day, before I want to rid the entire house of holiday dťcor and begin my new and improved lifestyle. Something takes over in me, and after weeks of excess and sloth, Iím hell bent on eating enough fiber, taking 10,000 steps a day, keeping accurate financial records, compulsively vacuuming, and fundamentally changing my entire personality.
Inevitably, about a month or two into it, my bad habits creep back in. Small setbacks send me into tailspin of guilt, and before I know it, Iím on the couch in the middle of the afternoon watching reality show reruns in order to avoid my responsibilities, with my lips wrapped around an entire can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles.
Sometimes, I make a little progress, and sometimes, I fail completely. So why bother making New Yearís Resolutions at all?
Itís not just me. About 45 percent of Americans make New Yearís resolutions with some kind of cathartic change in mind. Lose 10 pounds. Get organized. Quit smoking. Reduce debt. Get a new job. Stop procrastinating. Spend less time on electronic devices. Whether we hope to rid ourselves of debt, chaos, pounds, or bad habits, New Yearís Resolutions are supposed to make our lives better. But do they?
Some psychologists believe that New Yearís Resolutions make us unhappy because they set us up for certain failure, and nobody wants to feel like a failure these days. According to a 2014 University of Scranton study, only 8 percent of Americans who make resolutions are successful in meeting their goals after one year.
However, 46 percent reported having kept their goals past six months. Not too shabby. Most encouragingly, the statistics show that people who make New Yearís resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than people who donít make resolutions at all.
So, even if science indicates that Iíll still be a disorganized procrastinator, chomping a King-sized Snickers bar come mid-February, Iím still giving my New Yearís resolutions a try.
Sure, I might screw it up again, but who wants to be a sniveling cynic who never sticks his neck out for fear of failure? Wayne Gretzky once said, ďYou miss 100 percent of the shots you donít take.Ē The mere resolution to change for the better shows that, at the very least, I have the courage to give it a shot.
(Editorís note: Currently stationed in Newport, Rhode Island,†Molinari is a 20-year Navy spouse and mother of three teenagers, whose award-winning columns appear in military and civilian newspapers nationwide, and on her blog, themeatandpotatoesoflife.com)