The Lie: Getting more exercise? That’s a great New Year’s resolution.
The Truth: That’s an incredibly problematic New Year’s resolution – for me, at least, because it’s one that implicitly demands my participation. I’ll doubtless be subjected to increasingly numerous trips to the playground, during which I’ll either be expected to participate in tedious athletic activities (i.e. “tag” and “race” and “hold up my daughter as she works her way across the monkey bars, even though the point is to do it yourself”), or simply be repeatedly admonished to “watch” whatever unimpressive thing she’s figured out how to do. It never fails: just when you think your kids couldn’t be more demanding, New Year’s comes around, and they resolve to become more so.
In response, however, I plan sneakily introduce my kids to the secret truth about this annual ritual, which all adults know well: that New Year’s resolutions aren’t so much things you actually do as things that you merely say you’re going to do. On New Year’s Day, I told my kids I was resolving to eat fewer carbs – but when they get home this afternoon, they’ll find me three-quarters of the way through a box of sourdough pretzels with a pot of spaghetti boiling on the stove. It’s underhanded, perhaps, but it’s preferable to a situation in which my children’s every seasonal whim demands massive lifestyle modifications on my part.