Actually, I almost didn't.
At a friend's New Year's party I ducked into the bathroom just before midnight, to freshen up - and to further consider the resolution I'd make for the new year.
It's a process I don't take lightly. I start thinking about New Year's resolutions early, sometimes before Labor Day. No, I'm not kidding.
How to Make Outstanding New Year's Resolutions
Of course I have rules about this ritual! Among my (many) rules for making New Year's resolutions:
1. Just make one resolution - too many can be daunting.
2. Make it a good one. Hence, these many rules...
3. Keep it positive. Resolve to do something, not to not do something. In other words "eat more fresh vegetables" is better than "don't eat sweets."
4. Don't tell anyone your resolution until after midnight. Remember, it's your resolution. Share it too early and someone might try to talk you out of it.
5. Aim for a realistic change. "Run a marathon" might be realistic for some people, but "walk around the block once a week" is probably a good resolution for others. (You know who you are.)
6. Be specific. "Learn to crochet" is nice, but "crochet scarves for the homeless" is nice and specific.
7. Be vague enough to allow the resolution to expand in scope, if you want it to. If you resolve to "buy local," for example, you may start with a single item and by the end of the year, you'll probably have discovered many things you can get from within your own zip code.
8. Resolve to improve the world. Sure, it's your New Year's resolution, but why be selfish? If we all considered the impact of our New Year's resolutions, imagine what kind of world this might be....
I was testing a few possible resolutions against these rules while I fluffed my hair and reapplied lipstick and....jammed the door lock.
Seriously Stuck on Resolutions
While I'd been stuck figuratively for days, ruminating about my oh-so-serious resolutions - compost to save the planet and local water table or teach my kids a foreign language, thus raising globally aware citizens? - now I was stuck, literally.
I searched frantically (having never resolved to not snoop in a friend's bathroom; see rule number 3) for a nail file, bobby pin, handgun, anything to free myself. Nada. I pounded on the door. More. Louder.
"Hey guys," I called. "Can you open this door?"
The countdown began.
New Year's Disaster Averted
I panicked, shouted again, and kicked the door, finally overwhelming the lock with my seriousness. Nothing would stand between me and my resolution, which I was not about to make in the bathroom. (I should have a rule about that.)
Unfortunately, the incident robbed me of the necessary time to reflect and decide, finally, which life-changing resolution to adopt.
Cheers. Champagne kisses. Auld Lang Syne.
My husband, who has never agreed with my philosophy on the importance of resolutions, braced for the worst when a poor unsuspecting acquaintance asked, "did you make any resolutions?"
"Not to lock myself in the bathroom!" was what I blurted out.
We all laughed. Only I knew what a life-changer that was.
Originally published in December 2010 on the now-defunct Yahoo! voices channel, I'm still working through my feelings about New Year's Resolutions, and Auld Lang Syne, for that matter. This essay was originally titled, "Resolve to Lock in More Fun This Year." Which, no matter what year it is, sounds like a pretty good resolution. Cheers!