Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Years Resolutions And What Not with the B(*&(*^S

I've overheard numerous conversations about New Year's resolutions and how many folks tried to start something new already in 2009, but it's failed miserably. The assorted stories were about exercising, losing weight, trying new food types, or doing something different, but it appeared that most people had already given up on the ideas just six days into the year. I haven't done resolutions for years, mostly because I suck at them, and so I've tried a different tact.

Resolutions are meant with the best intent, as people look at the end of year, realize they want to do something different and so resolve to do that something at the start of the year. I spent many New Years Eve, drinking and partying, and coming up with drunken ideas to find my soul mate, get a better paying job, get rid of my expanding gut, get hair surgery, and most all of them failed by the time the Super Bowl kicked off later that month. For some of the ideas, it involved a lot more effort that I first realized and I gave up, but some of them were doomed to fail by an extra factor I have with some folks.

See, when Christmas passed and then the New Years Ball drops, for most people it's the end of the year and a start of something new. For me, it's one more day until my birthday hits, so I get the added pressure of realizing that I'm a year older while dealing with all of the new year stuff. Mind you, adding the year is great when you are 10 years old and wanting to hit double digits in age, but when you're turning 30 and things haven't quite turned out the way you expected them to and you're not sure what to do next, the new year and birthday thing just adds a double whammy. Granted, it's not a great excuse, but it's the same one that many people use when they join gyms at the start of the year, resolving to get in better shape, and then by February, they can't remember where their gym is. Try as people might, they want to do different things, but sometimes they resolve themselves to follow in the footsteps of their parents or friends.

Resolutions fail when there is negative energy behind them. What I mean is that if you try doing something simply to avoid a possible downfall or you are motivated by being scared of being alone, fat, bald or something like that, motivation will only work to a certain point. When you feel less threatened or the alcohol has worn off a bit, suddenly even the best ideas lose that necessity factor, and then it's another task that fell by the wayside. I didn't want to be alone at 30, but it was my circumstance, and now being where I'm at now, I appreciate my wife that much more realizing where I was and where I am now. The circumstances behind the change were a lot different.

Change fails when it's too nondescript to be measured or so far beyond realistic, it's doomed to fail, which means most resolutions will die out because they are set up that way. "I want to lose weight" is a noble intention, but too nondescript to really be measured in a meaningful or motivating way. "I want to lose weight because I want to meet Gillian Anderson in London during my summer holiday" is a bit more descriptive, but the chances of this happening for most of us is the same as being struck by lightning, winning the lottery, or being given our own reality show. It might happen, but more than likely, a certain path of extraordinary things must occur for it to fall in place. And while I believe in karma and fate, even those powerful forces have their limits.

My resolutions that have worked are placed when I am in a positive place, whenever that may be. I realize that something needs to be changed, and being more open and positive, it's not immediately dismissed. Then, I try and make the resolution something quantifiable, but also attainable. This blog really started as a resolution for me to write more creatively. I love my writing career now, but it's much more entertaining writing this at times than writing about the process flow of comparing data bits from the consumer resolution survey with the entire databank of customer records. See, I put you to sleep there just by having you read that sentence. Mind you, my job isn't boring, but I also know that in my best writing there, it's for a limited audience. So my resolution is to write at least once a week in my blog. It's easy, attainable, and the most important thing is that I don't beat myself up if I miss a week now and then. It happens, we all get busy, but because the change is associated with positive vibes, it has a greater chance of success.

Look, I'm a statistics guy, and some people will make change work under the worst of circumstances, but I will say the likelihood is small. But it's possible, and that's all that you have to keep in mind. And for me, sometimes, even I forget that as I deal with the day to day trials of living. We're all human, and sometimes, it's remembering that fact that helps us realize how special life can be.

Meanwhile, in the land of delusion labeled the BCS, apparently now legal action has been threatened because of the perceived inequity of the system. Utah is unhappy, and so they use the one thing we've learned in this country to solve differences, sue somebody. I swear that I hear the voice of Doug Llewellyn's voice saying "Don't take the law into your own hands, you take them to court" as I read things like this. I get that people are starting to get angry over this, even having our soon to be inaugurated President weigh in on things, and I don't think there is anyone that would agree the current system is completely fair. The BCS says we'll get the number one and two teams together to play for a title, and the rest is a mish-mash of rules, conference tie ins, and money flying about. It doesn't produce a clear mandate unless you have two teams that are undefeated, as long as they belong to the right conference, and if not, then it's a crapshoot.

But I'm tired of the whining and frustration, simply because you are fighting a losing battle here. Despite yelling, writing letters, suing, or whatever, the BCS won't change because it has no incentive to do anything different. People bitch about the system, yet games are still selling out for large ticket prices, and TV ratings are near the top of the rankings for each game, and sponsors continue to make good money. Gee, why would you want to change this at all, because it works if you are within the system. If you really want to mess with the system, don't watch the game and encourage your friends to do the same. Don't buy the sponsored products, and choose another show or activity to watch. If enough people affected the bottom line, it would get them to notice.

Look, logically speaking, a playoff would work and makes sense for every other NCAA division in football but the top, and the powers that be would make more money in a playoff then they currently do, and it would cause excitement beyond what is going on now. But if the system isn't broken according to the guys in charge, why would they try and fix it? Sounds like another broken resolution that slipped away like confetti after New Years.

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