anne mikolay 2012 120A New Year's resolution is a promise to ourselves to improve our behavior, our health, our relationships, our outlook on life. Some of us pledge to lose weight. Others vow to cut down on cigarettes, alcohol, or in my case, chocolate. People post positive affirmations in their workplaces or on their refrigerators to help them enact good intentions, but before the first week of the New Year is done, good intentions fall by the wayside for most of us. Those “feel good” sentiments posted in our offices and kitchens only remind us of our failures. Friends offer comforting platitudes to appease us. If you gained rather than lost a pound on your new diet, “own it and move on”, they say. If your relationships have not improved, “happiness is a choice”. If you didn't get that coveted new job or promotion, “tomorrow is another day”. And if you're paying the price for an offense committed, “what goes around, comes around”. Such sentiments hardly make us feel good about ourselves; who thinks up these things anyway? New Year's resolutions are hackneyed, stale. We need new food for thought!

While flipping through a catalog and eating a Milky Way (I told you chocolate is my weakness), I came across several plaques and posters for sale decorated with clever phrases that could replace the old, trite resolutions and affirmations we no longer pay attention to. Try these on for size:

It is never too late to become who you always wanted to be.

Never put your key to  happiness in someone else's pocket.

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

House Rules: 1) I'm right. You're wrong. That's it.

When in doubt, mumble.

Dear Karma, I have a list of people you missed.

Whoever said patience is a virtue never experienced instant gratification.

Four things you can't recover: The stone after the throw; the word after it's said; the occasion after it's missed; the time after it's gone.

If my dog doesn't like you, I probably won't either.

It doesn't matter if the glass is half empty or half full. Clearly, there's room for more wine.

Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

How to handle stress like a dog: if you can't eat it or play with it, then tinkle on it and walk away.

Happy New Year, folks! In 2015, may your home always be too small to hold all your friends (got that from a catalog, too!)