Aim both big and small in 2012

By Kelly Hagen
New Year’s resolutions are like elbows. Everyone should have at least two, if you plan on do­ing any heavy lifting.

First off, you need the Big Daddy, the resolution that you tell everyone, even yourself, that you’re going to ac­complish. But you’re not going to real­ly do it. For many, the Big Daddy isn’t even physically possible. “I’m going to lose all of my weight, this year. By this time next year, I will not weigh any­more, which is go­ing to be such a re­lief on my sneakers. I won’t even have to buy new shoes ever again, because I’ll never wear them out again with any of my unnecessary heft. I’ll just float to work, every day, on currents of air. No more worries about gas prices, or our country’s for­eign dependence on oil. I’ve solved all the world’s problems, simply by losing all of my weight.”

The Big Daddy is the resolution everyone thinks of when they talk about resolutions. After all, it should be something big. We just finished a whole bunch of eating holidays. There was Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, then Christmas, and we probably had, at least, a couple of popcorn balls for New Year’s. So, we’ve been stuffing our faces, and we’re not at work during these holidays. So you’re not working, you’re eating more, exercising less, probably breathing heavier every time you take the stairs, using up more and more of the oxygen. And we need that oxygen. There are now 7 billion people on this planet, 683,000 of which are in North Dakota, both numbers are all-time records. We’re needing more oxy­gen than ever, and you’re using it all up, like some kind of jerk. Do us all a favor and resolve to breathe less.

But, seriously, are you really going to climb a mountain this year? See Par­is? Discover a lost civilization? Colo­nize Mars? Win the presidency, Rick Santorum? It’s fine to make big goals and shoot for the stars, but do remem­ber that most of these resolutions are pretty unattain­able.

That’s why I’m saying, go ahead and make a second resolu­tion under your breath after you proudly an­nounce the Big Daddy. Trum­pet how you’re going to finally conquer your road rage to family and friends, sure. But underneath that big goal, make a Whispered Wish, a more achievable – and admittedly less im­pressive – target for the new year

This year, I’m going to tie my shoe­laces. I might try a new radio station in my car. Who knows? I might even experiment with flossing my teeth! The sky is the limit when you aim very, very low.

Reach for the brass ring; resolve to be better. But don’t be afraid to hedge your bets and grab some low-hanging fruit, just so you have some accomplishments to report in next year’s Christmas letter.

(Columnist Kelly Hagen resolves to wear more short-sleeved shirts this year. He can be reached at kelly.ha­, or read some more of the nutty things he’s written through the years at

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