Resolutions Resolved

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New Year’s Resolutions:

At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults made them. At the start of the 21st century, it grew to about 40%. Today, about 45% of us still do.

How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them. ~ Benjamin Franklin

According to Statistic Brain, only 8% of us actually succeed in following through with the resolutions we make. While a whopping 75% start out strong the first week, the will eventually tapers and we are left with our usual smoke inhaling, beer guzzling, procrastinating selves. Apparently, we have the courage to own our faults Mr. Franklin, we just can’t seem to fix them.

The most common reason found for our inability to keep a resolution is the lifestyle change it requires. In his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg explains that our brain clings to old routines helping us conserve our decision making neurons for work and problem solving. By the time a habit has been practiced enough, both the habit and reward become automatic. These routines require no willpower, they exist out of the sheer lack of effort it takes for our brains to perform them, such as brushing our teeth. The trick is to replace the bad habit with a better one. If we continue to reinforce the reward, we have a chance at accomplishing the goal– still maintaining a routine, just with different habits.

When I was young my New Year’s Resolutions used to be things like: wake up at 6:30 every morning and jog 3 miles. In most cases, resolutions are at least acted upon for a period of time. The ‘get back in shapers’ join a gym, the ‘smokers’ purchase nicotine gum. I don’t recall even setting my alarm for that following morning, nor do I remember ever running three miles up until then. I think I was thirteen, and they didn’t get any better as I got older: learn a new language, play an instrument, take up tap dancing…

With a history of creating resolutions that only self-disciplined, professionals can attain, I decided to apply my new knowledge of goal setting to the new year. I also narrowed my list down to things I can do for myself and things I can do for my relationship. Being that this blog is not called, ‘Kari Laskowski and her self discovery to her inner beauty’, which I think would allude to more ‘self pleasure’ spam and less followers, I will save you the read a book once a month or wake up thankful everyday jargon and cut right to the important stuff.

My Relationship Resolutions for 2013:

1. Call my grandma once a week.

I’m hoping to accomplish this by calling on Sundays. I will substitute the habit of lying on my couch with my computer for the habit of lying on my couch with my phone. Also, I will remind myself that she is getting older and my reward will be how proud I will feel that our relationship has strengthened when the time comes that she will no longer be with us. Of course, the reward will also be the relationship itself.

2. Have more sex.

I plan to accomplish this by:

  • Buying a sex book: whenever I go to a white elephant and there is a sex book, it’s always a hit. Just recently I went to a Christmas Party and we were supposed to bring an inexpensive or “naughty” gift.  A book about cunnilingus got all of the attention. It stole the comedy, not only with the couples at the party, but also among strangers at the bar afterwards. I realized it’s okay as long as everyone knows it’s funny or that it’s just a gift, however, we would be too embarrassed to purchase something like that for ourselves.
  • Renting a porn: I did all this research for my blog, There Ain’t No Shame or Blame in That Game, but I haven’t yet followed the advice of trying one out. The point of the blog is that the porn industry has catered to women more now than it ever has and that studies have shown sexual images can enhance women’s sex lives.
  • Seeing a sex therapist: I recently made friends with a sex therapist at a party. She had so much incite on couples and their sex lives. Her clients are mostly couples 50 years and older. However, there are therapists for newlyweds and for couples of all ages who help you learn how to avoid getting into a rut and how to continue on a good path. Sex: never, sometimes, often.

The rewards will be obvious, but in case anyone needs the statistics: a couple that plays together, stays together.

3. Fight better.

I have the same reactions to the same things that make me tick. These nuances are always going to bother me, but if I change my reaction I might see a change in the result as well. And if not, what do I have to lose? Most of the time our anger is only feeding the negative energy that spawned it in the first place. I met a woman once who told me when she and her husband call each other names, they have a rule that they always have to say the word “sexy” in front of it. “You are being a real sexy prick right now!” If I  take up name calling I’ll only do it because of this rule.

4.Compliment my partner more.

With our culture’s emphasis on beauty, compliments in terms of appearance often fall more on women. Maybe it’s because we spend more time thinking about what we are going to wear and getting ready. However, I’ve noticed when I tell Mike he looks good in something, it’s always well received. And if you think about it, men are secretly thinking about what to wear too, they’re just better at making decisions about it. Why should us women get all the credit, when men are able to look good and do it in half the time? In her book, Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More, Sheryl P. Kurland teaches us that complimenting our partner is a good way to make a conscious effort to build the relationship up, instead of our normal tendencies of breaking it down.

So there you have them. They each require my attention, but not too much. A lifestyle change? Not a big one, just a tweak here and there.

With all the stats on resolutions there still is one yet to be mentioned: People who make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t make resolutions.

Now, don’t be a sexy stick in the mud. Get out there and give it a try.

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Public Affairs

In an article, from Marie Claire’s September issue, An Affair to Forget:Can I forgive my husband for his infidelity?, author Catherine Barnes writes about her husband’s affair after an 18 year marriage. Barnes’ husband, Paul, decided he wanted to quit his job to work for the Foreign Service. The family was relocated to Bangkok where Paul was able to pursue his career. Before her move, Barnes read several warnings about marital affairs in Thailand. Apparently, it was common for Western men, including married ones, to be heavily pursued. The couple and their two kids had been living there for two years before Barnes discovered her husband was having an affair with a Thai woman.
Barnes said she felt ashamed she had not created a better security net for herself, “Like so many other educated women who should know better; I never kept my own bank account or ensured our investments were in both our names.”

After the affair, Barnes sought help through counseling but the incident between the Thai woman and the Western husband was such a common one in Thailand, the counselor couldn’t provide much help. In the end, Barnes chose to stay with her husband and give her marriage another shot.

In Psychology Today, an article titled, From Promise to Promiscuity, says “70 percent of couples choose to rebuild the relationship after infidelity.”

I admire Barnes for writing her article. It can’t be easy to not only admit that your husband is having an affair, but also that you are willing to stay and work things out. I’m sure she’s going to receive much criticism from friends and family for making this choice. Evidently, other spouses are making this same decision–she just seems to be the only one talking about it.

I’m curious as to why Barnes felt “ashamed” for believing in her marriage enough to not have had a safety net? Perhaps, if we all had our own safety nets, no one would really allow themselves to be one hundred percent available. It kind of seems like an “I love you…but just in case…” Or, maybe it’s the opposite, that the “safety net” (though, never really guarding us from the inevitable heartache of divorce) would allow us to dive right in. After all, it’s the times when we are most prepared that we end up not needing to be.

There Ain’t no Shame or Blame in that Game.

In Marie Claire’s August issue, there is an article titled, “The Secret to Having more Sex,” that claims you can have more sex if you visualize it. Researchers at Dartmouth University ran tests on 48 women while they looked at pictures of food, animals, nature and people having sex. The portions of the brain that causes pleasure, the nucleus accumbens, had greater activity  in those who responded well to the to the sexual imagery. The women with the higher responses had more sex the following six months. This brings me to the obvious conclusion: women could have more sex if they allowed porn to be in their lives.

First of all, it’s no secret Fifty Shades of Grey is known for it’s racy material. According to Wikipedia, “It is notable for it’s explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism,masochism.” The series has sold 40 million copies worldwide. It has become the best-selling book in Britain surpassing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows with 5.3 million copies. According to hypable.com, Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has outsold Harry Potter sales overall in Amazon’s UK store. I think there’s a void that needs to be filled here people. I have yet to read the book, but haven’t ruled it out.

Also, it’s obvious why the Twilight movies have such a huge following among, yes tweens, but also, women of all ages. It all started with Jacob removing his shirt and not putting it back on… for the rest of the series.

If the Dartmouth University study is true, maybe that’s why the sales of these items are so high. It’s our acceptable version of porn and perhaps, if we embraced these images more often, our sex lives would be, well, enhanced.

In O, The Oprah Magazine, an article by Rachel Bertsche, written back in July of ’07, focuses on adult films for women. “We asked porn reviewer Violet Blue to recommend a starter kit of quality adult films.” Here is the list of suggestions:

  • Cult Epic’s Vintage Erotica Series: takes place in 1920’s, pre-plastic surgery. Heads-up, some of the action is a little more “hardcore”.
  • Chemistry: Actors who live together for a period of time are filmed. Shot like a reality series.
  • The Bi Apple: sex blogger, Audacia Ray, directs a film about one woman’s journey of discovering her bi-sexuality.

Also, in Women’s Health is an article titled, “Chick Flicks,” shows several adult films that are female friendly. Here are some of their suggestions.

  • Pornstar Workout: a music video inspired film with yoga, pilates, aerobics and sex.
  • The Opening of Mist Beethoven: a combination of song, dance and sex shot on location in both Italy and New York.
  • This Ain’t Star Trek XXX:perhaps you could ask your man if he wants to watch Stark Trek and throw this number in instead. The whole crew is there, but this time it’s a different type of galaxy being explored.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is some really bad porn out there. I have an older brother whose friends brought it over to our house and every time, I’d come downstairs my brother would make his friends pause it (because he didn’t want his little sister to see it). Well, thanks for the protection big bro. but we were only a year apart, I was a Junior in High School and pausing it, really only made it worse.

(FYI, if you decide to give it a go and watch a film, don’t hit pause if someone comes into the room and you don’t want them to know what you are watching. It backfires big time.)

Kama Sutra drawing

There is a lot of shame for women to admit they would watch a porn but, the industry is as old as time.People have been looking at images of humans engaged in sex since we’ve been able to communicate through drawings. There are pictures on cave walls of stick figures in different sexual positions. Kama Sutra, for example is an ancient Indian Hindu text on human sexual behavior. Historians believe it to be composed between 400 BCE and 200 CE. It’s really a natural part of our human existence. The sooner we can laugh it off or even possibly allow ourselves to explore it, the sooner we may shake another side of sex that’s tied to shame. (I’m also, only talking to women here.)

I’m assuming these aren’t in the four star category, but I couldn’t resist. Here is my list of, Best Titles:

  • A Clear and Present Stranger
  • Add Mamma to the Train
  • Driving Miss Daisy Crazy
  • Forrest Hump
  • For Your Ass Only
  • I Know Who You Did Last Summer
  • Men in Back
  • Romancing the Bone
  • Saturday Night Beaver

Justice or Revenge?

Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment- Mahatma Gandhi

In Marie Claire’s July issue was an article titled, “My Ex Sued Me-and Won.” The author, Kim Gamble, was in relationship for a few months when she and her boyfriend went on a trip to India. The trip didn’t go so well. After it ended the relationship did too. Her boyfriend ended up suing her for his half of the trip. It was for $900 and he won.

In France, a woman sued her husband for $14,000 for withholding sex. The women filed for divorce citing, “lack of sex in the bedroom.” According to Time, the ex-husband refused his wife relations over the 21 years they were married. He blamed it on health issues and exhaustion. The judge ruled in favor of the woman saying that sharing a life together implies having sex with each other.

In New York, a man is in a pending lawsuit against his ex-girlfriend for taking his dog, a Puggle named Knuckles, to California. He claimed the dog was kidnapped. Thus far, he has spent his life savings, $60,000, trying to get him back. The ex-girlfriend said they both paid for Knuckles and split the vet bills down the middle.

Are these cases created out of justice or revenge? If it is revenge, it makes you wonder how far people will go. In the article, “My Ex Sued Me-and Won,” Gamble mentions her ex, “didn’t want my money; he wanted to punish me.” She was sure this was an act of control, to make her come to court to see him one last time, to hear him out and give him the last say. She decided writing the check to avoid the court appearance was the best way to write him off for good.

The guy who spent $60,000 to get his dog back, well, the reason it’s all over the news is because, it’s a little crazy. It was his life’s savings. The ex-girlfriend claims he wants revenge for the relationship ending and her moving on. If he doesn’t win, I think he’s going to be really, really mad. I keep picturing him as the guy on the street corner with a beard and a harmonica with his dog sitting next to him. But, at least he’ll be able to sleep knowing  he won-even if it is in a cardboard box.

In the case of the woman in France, she was married to her husband for 21 years when she decided to divorce him. It wasn’t enough to divorce him and walk away, she needed to come back two years later and sue him. Perhaps, he had moved on or maybe, she just needed the time to muster up the confidence. Either way, the man’s ex-wife publicly humiliated his “sex-life” (or lack there of), and he had to pay her $14,000. I wonder how she came up with the evidence, or the amount in damages.

I put this article on our fridge so Mike could see it with a note that said, “Put out or get out, it’s legal now!” This made him very confused. He brought up a trip, decades ago, when apparantly I wasn’t feeling “up to it”…I don’t even know what he’s talking about. Lies!

 

Does Love Stink?

An experiment was conducted where six men were to wear a T-shirt for two nights in a row. They were instructed not to wear deodorant or soap, so women could more easily pick up their Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC). Women were then given the six T-shirts to smell.

Three of the T-shirts had MHC similar to them and three had MHC that was different. The women found that the T-shirts with the different MHC reminded them of past or current boyfriends while the ones with the similar MHC reminded them of family members.

Also, women who were on birth control chose the T-shirts with the similar MHC. Scientists speculate that the birth control often tricks the mind to think it is pregnant and therefore uninterested.

For all the women who think they are crazy and keep dating the wrong man, well maybe your birth control is choosing him for you through scent. Now, if you decide to go off of birth control as an experiment to see if you are attracted to someone new, please do not forget this “experiment” when you are out at the bars enjoying libations. The objective here is meant to create happy dating lives not babies.

Scientists found that females are more likely to choose a mate who is not closely related to themselves. This would allow the offspring to carry different genotypes, having stronger immune systems and a better chance at surviving.

This makes sense because my boyfriend Mike will eat something off of the floor (five second rule need not apply), get three hours of sleep and still spend the next night out drinking, doesn’t obsess about washing his hands and is never sick. I on the other hand, wash my hands the minute I walk in the door, would never eat food off of the floor and if I get anything short of my eight hours of sleep my voice becomes hoarse. (I’m getting a tickle in my throat just thinking about it.) It may be a small case of hypochondria but I still feel every symptom, and it hurts. You can never be too careful!

Hopefully, our kids get his immune system.

In Marie Claire’s June issue, was an article titled, “Scent of a Marriage.” It was about a woman who didn’t like the scent of her husband, but he had all the other qualities she was looking for. Eventually, they had too many differences and divorced. She then remarried a man with a scent she was instantly attracted to. While they still have their differences, it’s been several years and they are still happily married. She attributes the attraction she still has for her second husband to his scent.

As a follow up, a woman responded to this article saying that she was engaged to a man who had an intoxicating scent. She then went on birth control and the hormones made her hate his smell. She ended up finding a birth control that allowed her to enjoy his scent again and they were able to reconnect.

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