There is a television commercial which the Coca-Cola ad team seems to resurrect with some frequency. A blank background, a glass of ice, and the slow pouring of one of their products into it. Even Santa Claus makes an appearance from time to time. Just the sight of that ad is usually enough to set me out to the store for one of my favorite indulgences—Diet Coke. It could be that’s the result of excellent marketing, but I surmise it’s actually a lack of my own will-power instead. At any rate, I indulge in this “guilty pleasure” occasionally (rarely feeling all that guilty about it), and I have a strong hunch that you do as well. Sure, it may not be the sublime syrupy sudsiness of a Diet Coke, but rather chocolate or sweets, fast food, a shopping spree, or even just a quick 45-minute, uh-hem, 5-minute nap.
Whatever your poison, our New Year’s Resolutions typically discourage bending towards these ‘enjoyable weaknesses.’ But in case you hadn’t realized, my resolutions this year are anything but typical. Before you think I’ve lost the point of the “New Year’s Resolution” with delicacies and diet soda, indulge me as I explain.
If we practice moderation, these extravagances of ours become simple pleasures in our daily lives. It seems to me, too often, we fail to realize or recognize and appreciate the little joys we encounter every day. I’m reminded of the story of the young boy who went to his mother to ask for a dollar to take to the candy store. In an effort to teach her son the value of a dollar, she encouraged him to collect empty bottles to cash in for his needed candy money. Eagerly the next morning, he set out down their street searching diligently for the perceived gold mine of cola bottles he was sure would await him. However, so focused was he on searching for bottles, he failed to notice the three quarters, two dimes, and a nickel his mother had strategically strewn along the street for him to find, and he walked right over them.
Do we, too, become so preoccupied throughout the year with our own grandiose aspirations? A promotion, a raise, retiring, buying a home, or finding a soul mate (not necessarily in that order). Do we allow ourselves to become so caught up in the quest for those “bottles” that we fail to recognize the little joys in front of us every day? (which are sometimes more valuable still). Of course, we do—it’s only natural, but it can very truly detract from our overall happiness.
As you’ve no doubt realized, the titles of my resolutions were meant to pique your interest, but each has a much deeper meaning. In the coming year, drink a Diet Coke, eat a doughnut, splurge on those new shoes, and never fail to recognize the little joys that can bring us so much happiness and fulfillment. Instead of being filled with simply a heavy conscience and even heavier carbohydrates, refer to your “guilty pleasure” as one of life’s “little joys” and you’ll feel a lot better…that is, until you perch yourself on the scales.
Until next time, and our next resolution (Learning to Count to Ten), have a day full (not too full!) of “little joys.”