Classic rock aficionados can relax, because no Beatles songs were harmed (much) in the making of this column. But it does track, actually, because Revolution was a social protest song that fits right in with New Year’s resolutions. Huh, really? Well, to paraphrase Phineas from the Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb – why yes, yes it does. For that matter, Phineas and Ferb track with the dreaded NYR as well — but more on that later.

Each year around late November/early December we all begin to hear about everyone’s resolutions for the coming year. Hope springs eternal they say, and people hope that if they begin at the first spin of the Earth’s upcoming revolution around the sun that they can make their lives better. There is some wisdom to that, because beginning at the beginning is usually the best place to start. We don’t lay the foundation for our homes after we build the walls which will rest upon it after all. And a fresh start seems so bright and optimistic that we all think that anything, however improbable, is in fact possible. This is important because it is the possible part that we all really need.

Time passes of course, and years eventually drone on. Each day the earth revolves in its cycle of days and nights, one right after another until it becomes a blur. We experience postponements and setbacks, each of which blunts our successes and accomplishments until we can actually forget what good has happened to us and what we have achieved. We become somewhat jaded as our subconscious weighs our lives into categories of “this cancels out that”, and then we can not only doubt ourselves but others as well. And then, when we hear those NYR’s from other people, McCartney and Lennon kick in with “You say you got a real solution/Well, you know/We’d all love to see the plan”, though not really, because we don’t actually believe them. And we downplay the whole process with “You ask me for a contribution/Well, you know/We’re all doing what we can.”

But are we, really? The short answer is no we aren’t — but is anything ever that simple with humans? The New Year’s Resolution, aside from being an excellent marketing tool to sell diet plans and exercise equipment, is a double-edged sword that can both help and hurt us. We don’t need to throw it out and banish it from our vocabulary, but a sword (double-edged or not) is like any other tool. We need to learn how to use it to its ultimate potential. And New Year’s Resolutions have a lot of potential, after all. Now to explain the cartoon reference.

Phineas and Ferb are stepbrothers who are completely obsessed with squeezing every moment out of their summer vacation from school. And the beginning of the theme song not only states this but encapsulates our attitude (at the beginning) of New Year’s Resolutions. “There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation/Then school comes along just to end it/So the annual problem for our generation/Is finding a good way to spend it.” It goes on to give examples of what spending it might entail (like numerous resolutions), with each becoming more fancily than the last. But the passion is there, even if practicality is absent.

Real life, more often than not, is somewhere between the jaded and the joyous. And that is perfectly fine because we are all going to have ups and downs, successes and failures – often in the same day. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t dream big dreams and make grand plans. Resolve to climb the Eiffel Tower or build a rocket with Phineas and Ferb. Lose the last (or first) ten pounds, learn a new language, go back to start or finish college. Will you succeed? Maybe or maybe not — but you absolutely won’t get anywhere if you don’t make the decision to try. And that, in the end, is what is important.

Honestly, we might just take the elevator up the Eiffel Tower or watch a lot of Star Trek or Star Wars because things sometimes don’t quite go as planned. But don’t beat yourself up because even if you only lose 2 of the ten pounds, well, that is something. Maybe your plan to speak fluent French won’t quite reach the mark, but at least you can give the waiter a few snickers (hopefully from a distance) when you order wrong. And making people laugh has its own benefit, after all.

So, give it a shot, and become part of the “Revolution”. It’s worth a try, pass or fail. And regardless, as the Beatles said, “Don’t you know it’s gonna be (all right).” Have a Happy New Year.

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