Very soon, we will make our New Year's resolutions in earnest. The common themes of losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking and controlling stress are laudable. Yet they are so doggone difficult, and easier said than done. Perhaps that explains our failure to keep them we lose our resolve when it becomes a struggle.
Resolutions we make about our homes and gardens can fall prey to the same pitfalls that plague self-improvement themes. Therefore, this year, resolve to temper each difficult resolution with one that you are more likely to keep. You won't be accused of getting soft and being too easy on yourself. It's just that well, you'll see.
Resolve to put water sealer on the deck planking this spring. Got that done? Great! Now resolve to throw an impromptu barbecue with the neighbors. You supply the nicely sealed deck and a grill; everyone else brings something to cook.
Resolve to sort through and toss out unwanted junk mail on the same day it arrives. Otherwise, it just piles up on the kitchen table where it may get mixed in with the important stuff, like bills and the kids' homework. No doubt many payment notices have been lost in the shuffle, causing people to say, "I never received it."
You want reality, now? Resolve, at least, to put the important mail in a separate, special place, even as the junk mail accumulates elsewhere. In your "spare" time you can go through the unsolicited stuff more leisurely.
Add some fun
Resolve to do at least one chore every week from the "job jar" or the "honey do" pot. Yes, these really can put a crimp in the weekend. To counter the dread of pulling out a time-consuming, unpleasant task time after time, resolve to put a few fun things into the jar. Who knows? You just might grab a chore that reads "Sit down and read that book you haven't finished" or "Knock off for the day and join friends for a get-together."
Resolve to clean the dust that has been collecting, unseen, atop the ceiling fan blades, behind the refrigerator, along the cold-air returns and registers and other out-of-the-way areas. Sorry, there's no way around this one. Oh, wait just put it in the "honey do" jar.
Resolve to weed the garden faithfully every week. OK, I admit that come July or August this gets to be nearly impossible. Resolve instead to weed the garden until it becomes too hot, the chiggers too awful and the weeds too abundant. Then, resolve to resort to a more casual "cosmetic weeding" approach, plucking out only the really noticeable weeds.
Resolve to use more garden decorations. Hide a statue of a large frog or turtle under a large hosta leaf. Let a metallic dragonfly "hover" above the pond or a butterfly sculpture "flutter" across a flower bed.
Part of the magic of a garden is in its unfolding charm, every bend bringing a new adventure. Then, resolve to stroll the garden hand-in-hand with a young child. Your enjoyment will be doubled as you witness the youngster's enthusiastic delight upon discovering all the hidden treasures.
Some resolutions, however, are just too sensible and sound to modify in any way.
Resolve to use only licensed professionals, if a license is required, for major home repairs. When it comes to rewiring the house, don't ask your brother-in-law (unless he happens to be an electrician) just so you can save a few dollars.
Resolve to follow manufacturers' recommendations when using all household and garden products.
Resolve to use ladders, extension cords, chain saws, hammers, lawn mowers and other potentially dangerous tools safely and carefully.
Resolve to wear your seat belt and use the appropriate child safety seat for your children whenever riding in a car.
Resolve to plant a row for the hungry. Share your garden abundance with others. Even zucchini and tomatoes are welcome to those who have little else to eat.
Resolve to be a good neighbor. Take the pooper-scooper when you walk the dog; mow the lawn at a time of day when people are already awake; share tools (and return the ones you have borrowed).
Oh yes, and remember to resolve to:
Exercise three times a week.
Keep stress under control.
Finally, resolve to delight in and appreciate every day.
Happy new year!
Carol Boncella is education coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and home and
garden writer for the Journal-World.