Happy Now Years

Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

It's suddenly 2016, and I'm uneasy. Perhaps you know that vague apprehension. Like maybe you left your newly stocked phosphorescent med cart unlocked in the parking lot overnight, or ran off to work with the hot iron resting face down on a pile of tinder-dry copies of McKnight's

Something's definitely wrong, nagging at you like you might have just crowned the wrong Miss Universe, or accidentally locked a touring family member in the facility freezer over the weekend.

This isn't the way we're supposed to feel. It's the start of a new year, when everything should still be … new — a clean dry-erase board of pristine potential, an as-yet unspoiled list of personal and professional objectives. We should feel optimistic and confident, not like we're stepping into 2016 like Bambi on ice.

The source of our collective anxiety is clear: It's those pesky New Year's resolutions. They're such a success/failure proposition. We win or we lose. We do them or we don't. There isn't much room for anything but total victory or abject failure. The distance between a faithfully utilized gym membership and a box of Little Debbie's devoured in defeat is painfully short.

That's why we need a replacement paradigm — Now Year's resolutions.  Because unlike our annual rite of audacious goals followed by dismal defeats, every moment is a chance to start over. The soonest we can improve is always this instant. No need to stew in our freshly illuminated inadequacies for the next 11 months. We can simply resolve to build on our successes and mistakes — now and every now until the dawn of 2017 and far beyond.

Big, noble aspirations aren't the problem at this time of year. Our aversion to failure is. “Fail, fail again, fail better,” says Pema Chodron, paraphrasing Samuel Beckett in an inspiring new book.

So here's the plan. To do my best, accept my worst, and then do my best again — over and over, forever. That's my Now Year's resolution.