I hate New Year's resolutions and haven't made one for years. I hate them for a variety of reasons, the predominant one being that I have never, ever kept them. In fact, I usually broke one or all of them by Jan. 7, which made me feel like a failure way too soon after the start of a new year.

I had breakfast with a couple of friends on Dec. 31. Friend No. 1, who apparently loves — wait, make that LOVES — New Year's resolutions asked what we hoped to accomplish in the new year. What were our resolutions, if you will?

Friend No. 2 mentioned the usual: Go to the gym, live a healthier lifestyle, not allow undeserving people to take advantage of her good nature and generosity and volunteer more. From discussions with friends who make resolutions, these seem to be fairly standard ones.

As for me, my brain shut down the second Friend No. 1 asked about it. How does one define the course of a life for the next year in a sentence or two? At this point in my life, my resolutions go pretty far beyond eating my veggies, volunteering and keeping in touch with friends and family on a regular basis.

There are things I promise to do for family and friends, like attend events, make dinner and pick people up at the airport. There are things I agree to do for work, like provide feedback on articles and update our Web site. There are things I want to do, like sleep in once in a while, go out to dinner, read Vanity Fair and take my dogs to the dog park. There are things I'm obligated to do, like pay my bills, submit my tax forms and drive the speed limit. None of these things is a resolution; I just do them because they're part of everyday life for me.

When pressed about what I wanted to do differently in the new year, I said, “I want to enjoy each day and not stress out about things over which I have no control.” What's funny to me looking back on that conversation is that it didn't occur to me that I have my resolutions tattooed on my arms.

One tattoo (I am tattooed on the inside of both forearms) says: “This world was created for me.” In one way, it's almost an inside joke. I'm a Leo, with plenty of Leo pride and attitude, so of course the world was created for my enjoyment.

It has a more subtle meaning for me, though: Good or bad, I am the author of my life. If I believe I'm going through tough times, then chances are, something I've done or that I've allowed to happen has contributed to my bad time. Conversely, good things don't just “happen.” My actions have contributed to bluer skies and greener pastures.

The second tattoo says: “I will return to ashes and dust.” It is a reminder to me to be humble, because I am the same as every person on earth and we all return to ashes and dust eventually. While my well-being is of upmost importance to me, it's a drop in the bucket when viewed as a single life in this great world.

The World Bank reports that 1.4 billion people live on the equivalent of $1.25 a day or less. The United States has about 4 percent of the world's population, yet uses about 25 percent of the world's fossil energy.

So, taking the content of my tattoos into consideration, here are my New Year's resolutions: I resolve, every day, to remember that I am a privileged, blessed person who is in control of her own destiny.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Send an e-mail with your thoughts to sandy.smith@penton.com.