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New Years Resolutions and Commercialism

Updated on January 9, 2012

If there's any doubt that it's January, just turn on the television and wait for a commercial. Or better yet, turn on an infomercial. Nearly every single one offers advice on how to look better, feel better, or some other way to better improve your current lifestyle. Look like a supermodel in just ten minutes a day. Improve your sex appeal with a little blue pill. Don't believe me? Turn on your television and look through the commercials. Here are some things I passed in the past five minutes.

  • Shark Navigator LiftAway Vacuum Cleaner
  • P90X
  • Hydroxatone Skin Care
  • Get Hot
  • Lifestyle Lift
  • Brazil Butt Lift
  • Bose
  • Overcoming Anxiety with the Midwest Center
  • 10 Minute Trainer
  • Meaningful Beauty

And some of these were on multiple channels at the same time!

There is nothing wrong with taking time at the New Year to make resolutions on how to improve our lives. (Or in my case, un-resolutions on how I don't plan to change one bit.) Here's the problem with limiting resolutions to what everyone else can see -- on the inside, nothing changes. Unless we work on what is inside, a smaller body, more hair, or less wrinkled skin won't make one bit of difference and in some cases, might make things worse.

I went to school with a girl who was a total witch to everyone else, but she blamed no one liking her on her crooked nose. According to her, she flunked Greek mythology class because the teacher hated her nose. It's also the reason why she wasn't picked for the cheerleading squad and why the most adorable boy in school completely ignored her. During the summer after sophomore year, her parents paid for rhinoplasty. That's right, a nose job. The result? She still spent all of junior year being a witch to everyone, but now she was a lot cuter doing it. She wasn't better at Greek mythology, because she never cracked a book. She still didn't make the cheerleading squad, because she never practiced the required acrobatic stunts and was therefore unable to perform accordingly during tryouts.

A few years ago an obese friend who works at a local bookstore decided to try a popular weight loss program. An extreme success story, she lost over two hundred pounds in one year! She shopped in the same stores as and traded clothes with her teenage step-daughter. When asked what her customers thought, she said the story hour kids missed her previous fashion ensembles of bright colors and mismatched, loud patterns. In her new, smaller size, my friend suddenly felt compelled to suppress her best traits. It was like she traded in her bubbly personality for a look that, in her own opinion, made her a more acceptable member of society. Our lunch conversations about American literature turned into how many points her meal added up to, and how many more ounces she'd lost since our last outing.

Maybe you've already been suckered into one of these carefully crafted infomercials. Don't feel bad -- we've all been there! Designed to prey on those who failed resolutions from previous years, shapely models airbrushed to look even better through the television screen create a compelling argument, regardless of the product type. Before picking up the phone and pulling the credit card from your wallet, grab a paper and pencil. Write down the phone number and, if available, the website address. Google them. Look for reviews, and read as many of them as you can. Google again, only this time add a word like SCAM in your search. The results could be very different.

Happy new year, and thanks for reading!

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