Let's add some resolve to all those New Year's resolutions

January 26, 2011 

It is that time of year again. The time when we contemplate breaking the New Year's resolutions that we made with such gusto before 2011 began.

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions provides us with a deeper purpose so that we can start the year full of promise and hope, in addition to nursing our hangovers after a night of singing off-key renditions of “Auld Lang Syne.”

Personally, I have taken more pleasure in placing bets on how soon others, me included, will break resolutions.

The newly purchased exercise equipment is already coated with a thin, but noticeable, layer of dust. All is not lost because you now have additional space to hang the clothes from the closet which was supposed to be organized last New Year’s.

Lack of personal accountability has reached epic proportions in this country. Hopefully, you learn early in life that every action has a consequence. If you throw a punch in the schoolyard, you will most likely end up in the principal’s office. Unfortunately, once we are adults, there is no principal (your overbearing spouse does not count).

Perhaps the lack of accountability is a form of rebellion where all of us, at one time or another, wants to yell, “You cannot tell me what to do,” or as a friend’s child recently said, “I am the boss of me.”

But, like the boss, don’t you want an employee who is responsible and completes assigned tasks? Before pointing at yourself in the mirror saying “You’re fired” in your best Donald Trump impersonation, consider making this year the one where we hold ourselves accountable for our actions. Make this the year that we show our children, and pinky swear on it, that we, too, can keep our promises.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines accountability as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility and to account for one’s actions. To demonstrate usage of the term, it uses the phrase “public officials lacking accountability.”

Often when we think of accountability, a particular politician will come to mind, depending on which side of the aisle you sit. But, at least with politicians, we can voice our displeasure by not re-electing them. In our everyday lives, we cannot vote our slacker co-worker off the island in a “Survivor” tribal council. We cannot kick out our spouse for being a compulsive liar in a “Big Brother” eviction ceremony. We can always get a new job or a divorce, but true “reality” might be better if everyone vowed to be accountable to themselves and to each other.

A more accountable world is one where you do not buy a 65” flat screen TV on credit when you are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

A more accountable world is one where you come to work on time, thankful to have a job in this miserable economy. A more accountable world is one where you ding someone’s fender and leave a note on their car with your phone number. You have only as many children as you can afford to support.

In the age of Enron, Bernie Madoff, and rampant banking industry fraud, it is understandable why the average citizen may take issue with the idea of accountability wondering why the “little people” are held to different standards. We may not be famous, but a spotlight is shining on each of us. We put on a show every day before family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Let us all make this the year that we give a stand-out performance.

One promise I plan on keeping this year is betting on our ability to keep New Year’s resolutions. Pinky swear.

Ami Peterson, who lives and works in Olympia, is a member of The Olympian’s Board of Contributors. She can be reached at amipetersonoly@yahoo.com.

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