it’s january fifteenth and i’m a little behind on my new years resolution. . .

at the beginning of the new year, the ancient babylonians made promises to the Gods that they would return borrowed items and repay their debts.  the romans made their new year’s promises to janus, the two faced God for whom january is named.  and the medieval knights made a “peacock vow” right after christmas to reaffirm their commitment to chivalry.  these days, a lot of people make new years resolutions.  fully 40% of americans make resolutions.  the most popular ones being losing weight, exercising more, getting a better job, getting control over one’s finances.  but 88% of people fail at their resolutions, almost half giving up before the end of january.  last year, i resolved to meet all 325 facebook friends that i had at the time.  for a variety of reasons, i managed to meet up and have real face time, with 292.

in the third episode of season three of the hit series glee, mike chang's father demands that the principal force mike out of the glee club because mike has received an A- on one of his tests. the A- is referred to as the asian F, in part because of the stereotype that asian parents expect perfect grades from their children. i met 90% of my facebook friends last year so i guess that's an asian F.


this year, my resolution is to meet 12 facebook friends who would like my help getting out from behind the computer screen.  i think we sometimes use facebook friendships as a way of avoiding the chaos, confusion and just plan scariness of modern life.  and some of us have our worlds get smaller and smaller.

i made three new years resolutions:  one, i have to lose ten pounds.  i gained that much over the course of last year–damn, those taipei soup dumplings, the weiner schnitzel in dortmund, the smashed peas in bristol, the seven course meal in eastbourne. . .  the next is a little more embarrassing.

white wine, we have to talk. . . . i like you too much. so we have to break up. i'll still let myself drink beer but the white stuff's offlimits. if you see me with a glass like this in my hand, call me out on it!


and the big resolution is that i will take what i have learned and visit twelve facebook friends who are stuck.  and i will do what i can to help “un-stuck” them.  but january’s nearly over.  i have to get moving.  people who are successful at new years resolutions do two things:  they engage in interim goal setting and they announce their intentions and ask for support from their friends.  in order to make my facebook new years resolution work, i will have to meet one facebook friend a month.  and it can’t just be one meeting or one interaction.  it’s going to have to be a little more intense.  but i have made the first step:

on january 26th, i will be in pennsylvania meeting with a facebook friend who has been housebound for some time.  she would like to be a “better” mother and see her son succeed at things like little league games.  i will be meeting her for the first time.

on january 29th, i will fly out to boston where i will meet with a facebook friend who has similar issues.  i hope she’ll let me take her to lunch at the “top of the hub” restaurant in boston because one of the focuses of her anxiety is heights and elevators.

if you want to succeed at whatever you’ve chosen as your new year’s resolution, you should announce what you plan to do and you should celebrate your interim successes.

9 responses to “it’s january fifteenth and i’m a little behind on my new years resolution. . .

  • Sigridur Magnusdottir

    Well done you!!! You impress me more and more! Good luck and all the best to you and the twelve…. just think – then these twelve may help twelve more people…. pass it on – you are amazing!

    • arlynnpresser

      sigridur! that would be amazing! for me, though, it’s just that i relied on so many people–you included–this past year. i need to be little less selfish this year!

      • Sigridur Magnusdottir

        I don’t think that there is a selfish bone in your body! I don’t know you at all, but from following your story I recognise that you are one of those special people that gives and gives and gives, as I said – you are amazing and I can only send you my best wishes. Let me know if there is ever anything you think that I can do to aid or assist in this amazing journey.

  • Marty

    Sounds like a good resolution except trading the wine for beer? How do you do it is a question I like to hear more about the mechanics? I have a friend who has to fly everywhere and he makes a game out of it ( he hates flying). 12 months and perhaps 12 apostles to pay it forward. You are good poster child for courage.

    • arlynnpresser

      wine hits me fast. i can’t even do hard liquor, never have. but beer is a slow buzz and i think it’s okay sometimes for me. this year there will be no wine (at least, that’s the plan) and i’ll lose ten pounds (i have gone back to weight lifting and cardio) and i will hit up those twelve friends (that’s an inviolable) marty, thank you so much!

  • Lorraine Best

    I don’t know how I found you but I did. I believe in life there are no accidents. Your mission to heal yourself is healing others as well. I look forward to following your journeys and antics in 2012.
    As for me, I am going to try my darndest to keep my resolutions. I was able to stick to one last year and I am determined to do it again. Good luck in your travels and meeting the 12!

  • Catherine

    I really admire you. I also have a fear of meeting new people and being in a crowd. I decided to attend a summer program in the US and it did help me a little bit. but there’s still something blocking me from seeing new people, not as strong as before tho, but still there. I hope in the near future, I can manage to stop that unreason fear, just like you did. all the best & happy lunar new year to you & your family.

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