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I Resolve, More Or Less

By James Utt
By James Utt

Approximately 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. That is more than watch the Super Bowl. The University of Scranton has done research that suggests only 8% actually achieve their new year’s goals. Studies indicate that so many fail because they attempt extreme makeovers, such as “get fit,” “lose weight,” “quit smoking.” For success in sticking to your resolutions, I recommend keeping them simple.

One expert says the best resolution you can make is to get more sleep. It not only makes you feel better, but enhances the chance of achieving your other resolutions. Sorry, but at age 69, I tend to roll with Ben Franklin, who slept only four hours a night and believed there was enough time for sleeping in the grave.

So, not wanting to make grand resolutions I probably cannot live up to, I resolve to do the following, smaller things:

I resolve to eat one vegetarian meal a week. Oh, come on man, who are you kidding? I resolve to eat one vegetarian meal a month. Wait. That still sounds like I would be subjecting myself to enhanced interrogation techniques. Okay, I resolve to eat one vegetarian meal a year. If I put bacon bits on a salad, can it still be counted as vegetarian?

I resolve to hit my tennis forehand with more topspin so it will not hit the net as often. By the way, if I am ever found murdered, tell the police my doubles partner had motive.

I resolve to be less snarky in my columns about Newport Beach and its residents. If you are a betting person, you should bet that I break this resolution first. Some targets are so, so inviting.

I resolve not to think poorly of tourists who come to our town. Everyone has an inalienable right to wear black knee socks with sandals.

I resolve to not take living in Laguna Beach, with all its beauty and charm, for granted. When my wife and I moved here in 2001, we were struck every morning and evening by the gorgeous view. We saw the village below, San Clemente Island on a clear winter’s day, purple clouds at sundown. All too often, I walk past my windows without an appreciative glance. No more. I was recently at a dinner party and met a couple who live on Lido Island on the bay side. I thought, “Ah, those poor souls.” (There goes the resolution about Newport Beach.)

I resolve to attend Laguna Tunes concerts because they bring a spirit of joy and happiness to our town twice a year.

I resolve to buy books only at Laguna Beach Books, one of our city’s true treasures.

I resolve to attend school board meetings, even though I have no children in the school system.

This would merely be an act of good citizenship. The board is in the hands of dedicated and competent people and I would like to make myself more aware of their good efforts.

I resolve not to avoid the eyes of the homeless who share our town as I pass them on the streets. If I were a Christian, I would say we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Since I am not, I will simply look upon them as my fellow human beings, who by illness or bad fortune, have fallen on hard times. If they ask for help, I will give it.

Lastly, I resolve, if President Trump appoints judges to the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe v. Wade and marriage equality, breaks up families with “Deportation Forces,” and ignores the danger of climate change, I will devote what energies I have to help make him a one term president.

If all else fails, just remember you live in Laguna Beach, rated as the city with the lowest obesity rate in America. Happy New Year!


James Utt resolved to quit smoking in 1977 and has not had a cigarette since. He misses them every day.


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  1. Mr. Utt knows how to start the year with whimsy, and self-awareness. Yeah, new years resolutions can be a good life-goal setting tool – or a measurement by which to measure failure. I agree with Mr. Utt. Make it simple, and be good to yourself. Would like to see more from him.


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