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What is it about December 31st that spurs fantasies of self-reform? Is it too much food and drink? Seasonal exuberance? Lunacy induced by crowds?

Every December, otherwise rational people make resolutions meant to transform them into organized, addiction-free souls with clean houses, healthy bodies, wholesome relationships, perfect children, and career paths soaring to the top -- the same vows they made last year and the year before that.

Can our resolutions endure past January 1st? Can we make it to year's end without ripping up our lists?

AGREEMENT entered into this ___________ (Date) by Husband and Wife (jointly called "Couple").

WHEREAS, New Year's Eve is coming and Couple feel compelled to make some vows:

NOW, THEREFORE, Couple make the following New Year's Resolution Agreement:


1. Couple shall reduce their caffeine and cholesterol intake. Additionally, they shall not tempt each other with ice cream or chocolate, except on special occasions. The following are not special occasions:

a. National Notary Public Day

b. Air Conditioning Appreciation Day

c. American Aardvark Week

2. Husband and Wife shall modify their alcohol intake. Husband acknowledges that "lite" beer counts.


1. Couple shall join a health club and occasionally show up. Such attendance will entail actual use of equipment.

2. Couple shall encourage each other to exercise, but shall not be pushy. Remarks such as the following will be avoided:

"I did 30 minutes on the bike. How much did you do?"

If such remark is made, the proper response shall be: "I used more resistance, so there."

3. Couple shall not spend gym time staring at attractive torsos. When caught ogling, the proper defense is: "I was just checking out her (his) technique."

Husband and Wife will pretend to believe this.

4. When Couple cannot get to the gym, they shall make reasonable efforts to use their virgin exercise bike. In order to facilitate same, Husband shall remove his clothing from the bike and, for incentive purposes, try same on.


1. Couple shall establish a college fund for their children. Additionally, they shall try to keep annual expenses below 110% of yearly income.

2. Couple shall create a budget for necessities such as housing, utilities, food, clothing, doctor bills, cable, bowling league, poker allowance, etc.


1. Couple will spend more quality time with their children. Quality time is defined as periods when everyone is awake and nobody is yelling.

2. Husband will not criticize the children's choice of music ... until he stops listening to the Stones.

3. Couple shall not hit the children, no matter how severe the provocation, and shall limit discipline to scolding and confining them to their rooms. Couple shall remember to confiscate computer games before such confinement.

4. Couple shall make reasonable efforts not to spoil the children. Couple shall also make reasonable efforts to spoil each other.

5. Couple shall try to get along with their respective parents ... and shall forgive each other when they fail.


1. Husband shall not spend all afternoon doing a five minute chore.

2. Husband shall stop pretending he knows how to fix the plumbing.

3. Couple shall not feign incompetence in order to avoid certain tasks. For example:

a. Husband acknowledges that he knows how to operate the dish washer.

b. Wife admits she knows how to pump gas.

However, neither Husband nor Wife knows how to fill out health insurance forms.


1. Husband and Wife shall not nag each other when they fall afoul of their resolutions. Gentle reminders, however, are permissible. The following are not deemed gentle:

a. "That's what you call a diet?"

b. "Get up you lazy slob and take out the garbage. Or have you already forgotten your resolution?"

2. The following are acceptable responses to resolution violations:

a. "If you consult our Resolution Agreement, you'll find it excludes beer and bon-bons."

b. "Honey, would you please refer to our agreement and, after having done so, take out the damn garbage."

3. Husband and Wife shall exercise restraint when resolution violations occur. They shall also take detailed get a head start on next year's list.

WHEREFORE, we affix our signatures:

(Husband)___________________ (Wife)___________________

© Madeleine Begun Kane. All Rights Reserved.
1st Published Midwest Today Magazine

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