Archive Feature: Five Unresolutions

Archive Feature: Five Unresolutions

By Alan Stark

This story originally ran on in 2013. We're republishing it here for readers of our weekly newsletter: the Sunday Email.

Let’s be really honest about your New Year’s resolutions. You haven’t got one chance in a million of making it through next week on an all-vegetable diet, not to mention doing it alcohol-free between high-intensity yoga workouts in an overheated room and running laps at the local high school track. I give you a week at the outside before you are back on the couch with a beer, burger and fries.

So instead of resolutions may I suggest UNRESOLUTIONS — the things you are not going to do in the next year. I’ll start but I expect you to come up with a number of your own.

Losing Weight. For way too many years, I have deluded myself into thinking I can disappear the extra thirty pounds I carry around. To fight the weight problem, I have come up with a number of ideas: (1) When I ride my road bike, I visualize a 30-pound bag of dog food draped over my handlebars. (2) I have a rule about not eating anything bigger than my head. (3) It has become clear to me that pizza and beer are not a recognized food group. These and a number of other clever weight-loss strategies have not worked in last twenty years; there is no chance I will lose weight this year. I resolve not to gain more than 5 pounds over the next year.

Shouting at the News. This person I live with, Blue Eyes says that when I shout at some congressional, judicial or executive moron quoted in the paper or appearing on the nightly news, no one besides she and the dog hear me. Neither of whom cares about my views on the stunning decline in our national leadership, and, in fact, would rather I stopped stating the obvious. I resolve to only shout at press or media reporters who quote or interview these morons.

Buying Outdoor Gear. Every year I swear that the gear I have is fine and that I really don’t need anything new. But somehow this last year, as if by magic, there was a down parka (February), a new road bike (April) and a new set of track skis (December) hanging in my garage. Blue Eyes has suggested that acquiring outdoor gear is a kind of disease like alcoholism. This year I resolve to limit my purchase of new outdoor gear (1) to stuff I really need to replace worn-out gear, (2) to replace gear I don’t like anymore, (3) to buy stuff I just have to have.

Yelling at the Dog. Willy is only 19-months-old; he’s barely into adolescence. I swore last year that I was going to be more patient, less grumpy and a veritable dog whisperer. That was before the watchband, thumb drive, wallet, notebook and one Sorrel were chewed to oblivion. I resolve to continue to shout at Willy for all ungracious acts against my gear until I don’t have any more unchewed gear. See: Buying Outdoor Gear.

Exercise. I am not a junkie. I can go an entire week without a trail run or ski and be reasonably easy to get along with unless something you say annoys me. Unfortunately, just about whatever you say will annoy me. Particularly if what you say is some right- or left-wing nonsense. (See: Yelling at the News.) So, truth be known, I need to be out there three or four times a week. This time of year, I usually set some outrageous distance goal for myself that I almost never reach a year later. My unresolution is to set no goals this year, further, I will actually talk to someone knowledgeable about my left knee and Achilles, possibly even a doctor.

Now it’s your turn. You can sidebar my unresolutions or add entirely new topics such as: Drinking, Relationships (the previous two may be done separately or combined), Road Trips, Renewing Old Friendships, Home Repair, Smoking and other Extreme Sports.