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On Resolutions: We Could All Use a Little Incentive, Right?

From editor Scott Omelianuk: an argument against making start-of-year promises

<p>The editor celebrates a solution to those resolutions that never quite work out.</p>

The editor celebrates a solution to those resolutions that never quite work out.

Photo by Michael Lewis

January/February 2014

No, no, no. I'm not going to do it. Definitely not.

And just so we're clear, "it" has nothing to do with popping the cork on that champagne bottle I'm holding. I mean, opening a bottle, literally or figuratively, is kind of what you need to do this time of year, when it's coldest and darkest and with the holidays behind you, right? A little glass to having survived the job, visiting family, one more page of the calendar, in more or less breathing shape.

No, what I'm definitely not going to do is make any resolutions. That's just guaranteeing failure. Or at least it has been for me. For as long as I can remember. The 10 pounds I resolved one year to lose and didn't. And then the next year when I didn't lose the 15 pounds. And then 20 pounds the year after that.

Why does that happen? I'm no shrink (I don't even think I've ever said to someone, "Why don't you tell me how you feel about that?"), but I'd wager that my inability to follow through has to do with the greatest motivator of all: money.

Sure, maybe I'll keep a few dollars in my pocket by eating less if I actually lose those 10 pounds. But then I'll have to buy new pants, and, unless I'm really lucky, those new pants are gonna come with the pockets empty.

It's probably the same reason I've never finished caulking between the countertop and the kitchen backsplash. Who's going to pay me for that? In fact, I'd go so far as to say that's the reason most of my smaller projects take so long to get finished, if they ever get finished. Maybe you're the same way.

That's why in this New Year's issue of TOH we decided to address the situation head-on with a story called Little Resolutions That Will Save You Big Bucks. Sure, the resolutions require a bit of work and, in a few cases, a small investment that might take a couple of years to recoup. But from sealing every crack and crevice in your attic and basement walls with spray foam to monitoring your household energy use via a smartphone app, they will not only benefit your quality of life, there's this: They will actually put money in your pocket. No matter what size your pants are. Even if you're more successful than me and you need to buy new ones in a smaller size. Check it out and let me know if they work for you.