Resolutions? In January? In Chicago? Pishposh, I say! Humbug! If we want resolutions that mean anything, we ought to move New Year’s Day to May 1.

Here in the so-called temperate zone, most conventional plans for self-improvement are subverted as soon as the sun goes south for the winter. It’s plain foolish to tell yourself you’re going to stop overeating at precisely the moment in the year when your body is crying out for a nice, warm, protective layer of fat. Or to promise to start exercising just when the trip to the gym is fraught with ice-glazed danger. Did you decide to learn a new skill or improve your mind? Good luck doing it on one of those short, gray, frigid days that cry out for a long nap. And if your goal is to be more cheerful, well, you can try that while digging out your car. Under the circumstances, the only truly doable commitments are to watch more TV, sit by more fireplaces, buy more blankets, and make more plane reservations.