New Year’s cat resolutions

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My cat presented me with a set of New Year’s resolutions this year.

I was pretty impressed when he nudged the mouse to activate his professional-looking paw-point presentation.

Twelve years old, and this is the first time Elwood has put together anything more complex than a meow-based plea for affection or a brief YouTube documentary on the relative merits of wet vs. dry kibble.

Some of these seem a little ambitious, but he is a formidable creature:

— Try harder to get at least 19 hours sleep each day.

— Commit random acts of nonchalance.

— Catch more mice.

— Nurture my inner kitten.

— Pay more attention to grooming those “hard to reach” areas.

— Use digestive system to communicate distaste with present living conditions.

— Implement Phase 3 of plot to seize control of household finances.

— Purr more.

— Take time to make sure key humans know just how much you … don’t care.

— Avoid the vet.

— Obtain catnip.

I had the sense that part of him wanted to resolve something more daring — say, “Risk one of your nine lives” — but I think he got skittish at the last minute. After all, he’s not even allowed outside.

But I salute him for taking the initiative. I was also very pleased that his list did not include any action items like: “Destroy some upholstery” or “acquaint yourself with the taste of human flesh.”

Now, as for human New Year’s resolutions, these can be a little more complicated.

Too bad we can’t collectively — as Americans or as human beings — make some resolutions and stick to them. Because here are a few things we might resolve to avoid in the coming year: hateful government shutdowns, severely botched health care rollouts, Senate filibusters involving strange men reading “Green Eggs and Ham,” extreme political gridlock that paralyzes the nation’s ability to function. I could go on.

Personal resolutions, though, are conceivably doable — at least on paper.

Last year around this time I offered some guidance, including the single most important thing to remember about making promises to yourself on or about the first day of January.

So please be advised: The surgeon general warns that New Year’s resolutions are the leading cause of failed New Year’s resolutions.

Now that you know what you’re getting yourself into, here are a few more pointers.

Just to cover all my bases, I like to open with some boilerplate resolutions by pledging to avoid costly and invasive medical procedures, unnecessary drive-by shootings, 14-car pile-ups and most behavior that causes me to emit the words “where am I?”

champagne

Click the champagne to read last year’s New Year’s Eve tips

To be safe, you might also want to swear off judging others too harshly, huffing turpentine and inhaling mint chocolate chip Pringles.

If you need further guidance on the art of resolution making, simply go to the Internet. There you will find such invaluable hints as: Lose weight, get out of debt and — my perennial favorite — live life!

Thanks, Einstein of Self-Actualization. Never would have thought of that. But now your anonymous exhortation has changed me forever.

Another popular suggestion among the New Year’s cognoscenti is this gem: Start a daily journal!

Yes, by all means. This way, you will be able to document your inevitable decline from fired-up, self-improvement-minded you back to your normal state — oh-whatever, just-give-me-the-strength-to-power-though-another-day you.

(All cynicism aside: I am absolutely certain this is a wonderful tool for inspiring creativity and self-discovery. Now if only I would just do it.)

Truth is, most of us are so perfect it’s tough to know what to improve. So here’s an easy one. Let’s do it together.

I, (state your name), in the year two-thousand and fourteen, hereby resolve to be the best me I can possibly be.

— John Breneman

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