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Happy New Groundhog’s Day!

I have a holiday suggestion that, once enough states ratify the change to the Constitution, will profoundly affect the happiness and well being of all Americans. Let’s forget New Year’s resolutions and go for Groundhog’s Day resolutions. To establish why this makes sense, let’s look at weight loss, the #1 goal of all Americans who have mirrors in their bathrooms.

On Dec. 31, I sit around eating leftover turkey sandwiches and ponder goals to set for the New Year, which starts the next day. I resolve to lose 15 pounds. I write it down on a sticky note on the fridge. I underline the 15. Then off I go to eat chips and dip, shrimp cocktails, mixed nuts, dipped vegetable sticks, buffalo wings, cheese, little hotdog things in barbecue sauce, beef stick slices on crackers, cheesecake, pie and baklava at the New Year’s Party down the street. I also consume flagons of sugary drinks as I say goodbye to the old year and bring in the new.

New Year’s Day has arrived, but I’ve quite forgotten my goal. I’m still at the party, and I keep eating and drinking as though there’s no tomorrow. I sit around with family and friends rejoicing that it’s not my house that’s trashed with confetti and cake crumbs. I idly pick cashews out of the mixed nut bowl on the coffee table. I eat one more piece of baklava.

New Year’s Day dawns. I drag myself out of bed to lie on the sofa to watch the Rose Bowl Parade hosted by people entirely too perky. I nibble on some caramel popcorn for breakfast.

In the afternoon I have several invitations to watch bowl games where I cheer, yell and consume chips and dip, shrimp cocktails, mixed nuts, dipped vegetable sticks, buffalo wings, cheese, little hotdog things in barbecue sauce, beef stick slices on crackers, cheesecake, pie and baklava.

Late at night I return home and look at the fridge as I grope for the milk. Oh! My resolution. Hmmm. Technically, I’ve already failed. But I am filled with resolve, primarily because the thought of food is revolting. It’s up to my gills. I give myself a day of slack. It’s a holiday.

The next day I go to work. I pack a lunch of carrot sticks and celery. I add an apple, probably because apples contain sugar. I bring some cheese and crackers along just in case.

After work I arrive at the gym. But there’s a problem. It’s packed with highly resolved people, and it will remain packed for about 10 days. So I opt instead to run a mile. After 30 feet I opt to walk a mile.

Back at home I realize that there’s some leftover ham, potato and cheese casserole and half a mincemeat pie in the refrigerator. There’s also a can of root beer. I behave like Pavlov’s dog.  The casserole and pie are history. The root beer washes it down. Somehow, in the commotion, the sticky note falls off the fridge and slides underneath.

It’s a yearly cycle of failure, but it doesn’t have to be.

I’m adopting Groundhog’s Day as a day of resolution, and I recommend it to one and all. It’s a day that outside of western Pennsylvania has no importance, so I’ll make of it a day that will change my life. There are no Cadbury chocolate caramel groundhogs to tempt me at the supermarket. There are no high-calorie parties on Groundhog’s Day, except I always like to eat sausage — just a couple of patties. I can always steam some broccoli and eat an apple with my meal. It will work well. The gyms in February are practically empty, so I can spend time on the Stairmaster and rowing machine, maybe swim a few laps. I can be a new me. In the evening I‘ll write my annual Groundhog’s Day letter to friends and family.

I’m confident that it will last. I’ll mark it on the calendar. Feb. 2 — my diet and exercise program begins! Let’s see. Feb. 3 — Super Bowl Sunday. Chips and dip, shrimp cocktails, mixed nuts, dipped vegetable sticks, buffalo wings, cheese, little hotdog things in barbecue sauce, beef stick slices on crackers, cheesecake, pie and baklava.

Feb. 4 should be made a national day of resolution.

— Lowell T. Christensen

Lowell T. Christensen is the author of The One-Minute Zillionaire — Achieve Wealth, Fame, and Success in an Instant, Give or Take a Hundred Years. He has kept himself busily occupied as a writer, engineer, rocket scientist, musician, backhoe operator, outdoorsman, chef, rancher and international traveler. His previous books include Coping with Texas and Other Staggering Feets and Beginning Farming and What Makes a Sheep Tick, and he has written magazine articles that feature presidential elections through the theme of Shakespearean plays. He also writes articles for his local newspaper about public education, cheesy television shows, Scout camp misadventures and the county library’s resemblance to a dead rhinoceros. With a degree in chemical engineering, he has worked for DuPont and the University of California.

Reflections of Erma