Next year will be a great year; 2014 will be a better year than 2013 —I think. One way to make a new year seem better is to establish a New Year’s Resolution. Well, actually, New Year’s Resolutions should be referred to as “yearly grievances” because of the heartbreak and grief that usually accompany a New Year’s Resolution. This heartbreak and grief can easily be avoided though: Just don’t make New Year’s Resolutions – I mean don’t make “yearly grievances.”

For New Year’s Day, 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions according to the University of Scranton – but who knows how reliable that is. Another statistic – that is pure fact and totally trustworthy – states that eight percent of the Americans who do make New Year’s Resolutions achieve them. The rest of America experiences the “yearly grievance.”

Kudos to the eight percent who reach their goals. Congratulations to the individual who decided to quit smoking and did quit smoking – for two whole days. Again, congratulations for accomplishing a resolution to quit smoking. For two entire days of not smoking, the reward is to be included in the lucky eight percent of the successful Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions. Try again next year and be rewarded.

When New Year’s Day approaches, we party hard. So let’s say that I am a pleasantly plump alcoholic, and I have decided to make a New Year’s Resolution to eat less/healthier and drink less. I have two weeks until January first. So I – for two weeks – binge drink and gorge myself with food because I know that when the first day of the year is today, I need to change. I better party hard and enjoy life before it becomes depressing in two weeks.

Now, in another situation – hypothetically – let’s say there is someone who is just downright miserable. This person never laughs, never smiles, and never feels an attraction to anyone; this person is basically Ebenezer Scrooge.

If this person decides on Jan. 2 to make a New Year’s Resolution to live life with smiles, laughter, and friends, then he or she is in deep trouble. Sorry, but remain miserable for 364 more days because yesterday’s opportunity was missed. News flash: there is a waiting period for change.

Suppose you have the job that you consider to be the worst job in the world – I won’t say what occupation I have in mind because I definitely do not want to offend anyone. Not only do you have the profession of your nightmares, but you are also in massive debt. To fix your problems, you make the decision to formulate a New Year’s Resolution because a New Year’s Resolution makes everything right. Your resolution is to find a better career – if not your dream career – and eliminate your debt. Unfortunately, in this situation, you have six months until you will be able to turn your life around. Relying on a New Year’s Resolution to change really sucks – for lack of a stronger word. Instead of delaying change, take action now. Just start now. Why wait in misery and distress for a year when changing now is even better. A great change can simply be to make more people smile and laugh. Consequently, creating more smiles and more laughter does piss some other people off – but who cares.

(Evan Rummerfield lives in Keizer.  He is a senior at McNary High School.)