When I was a kid, I would make totally unattainable resolutions each New Years Day. I promised to make my bed every morning without being told. I planned, not only to brush my hair a hundred times a day, but to stand up straight without being told. I vowed not to be mean to my siblings; that was always the first resolution to bite the dust.

In later years, my New Year’s lists contained the three same goals: to quit smoking, exercise daily and lose weight. I did quit smoking some 30 years ago, after many failed attempts. At the time I was breaking my vow with about three cigarettes a day. Then I found out that it was as easy as a doctor saying to me, “Of course, you don’t smoke, do you? Because if you do, you can leave the office right now.” After my visit, I tossed the remains of a pack in a conveniently located trash can. It was so easy.

Exercise is easy, too, for a time…a limited time. Here’s how my exercise programs usually work. The first three days I flail around the living room while Jane Fonda, on video and dressed in a skimpy leotard, urges me on. Then I find the last set of movements hurts my knees, so I cut them out and stop the tape early. Then I decide I don’t need the warm-up, so I cut some from the top. Pretty soon I’ve squeezed old Jane right out of existence, and it’s only February. Anyhow, she annoys the heck out of me because she’s my age and looks so good in that leotard.

As the year progresses, I try out a few organized classes in which guilt is the motivating factor. If you skip a session, your fellow work-out buddies will be sure to ask where you were. I’ve tried aerobics, swimming, plain old calisthenics, even ballet. I’m pretty good about walking, if it’s not too hot, cold, raining or snowing.

Then there’s the kicker: losing a few pounds.

The day after New Years Eve doesn’t count because it’s a holiday and neither do weekends.

On some years I quit carbohydrates, on others I ban all fats. What I do eat will all be washed away in the eight huge glasses of water that will drink every single day, including weekends and holidays. There will be absolutely nothing with even a hint of sugar, or the fake kind either, because that makes you crave the real thing. I count everything. I eat more seeds than our backyard birds.

There will be no alcohol, unless it’s a tiny glass of something Lite, but then only on weekends. Or a teeny tiny glass of wine with dinner, again, only on weekends.

This year had an added challenge with the New Year starting on a Tuesday That’s a heck of a day to start a diet.

Anyway, I try. And just when I start to bemoan my total lack of will power, and curse my weak resolve, in a few weeks, along comes Lent.