It is the start of the year and that can mean only one thing: I will be inadvertently back-dating checks and other documents until November.
I guess it could also mean that it is time to evaluate how well I kept my 2013 New Year’s resolution and make a new one for 2014.
So I guess today really means three things.
I’m happy to say I kept my 2013 New Year’s resolution. I am also happy to report I have successfully accomplished my New Year’s resolution for the last eight years running.
Before I tell you what I resolved to do last year I am going to look at how well I did at keeping other people’s resolutions.
The perennial number one, most popular, resolution is to lose weight. Makes sense, we have all finished a month long grazing and gorging fest of holiday foods so the extra pound or two is weighing heavily on us. I did very well in the weight loss area. I dipped down into the 235 to 238 pound range early in the year and have been able to maintain that same weight throughout the rest of the year. While doctors and gym rats alike will tell you I have farther to go, I say “you should have seen me three years and 80 pounds ago.
In a completely unscientific survey of Google it seems the number two most popular resolution is to drink less. Not surprising when you consider most New Year’s resolutions are made the morning (or afternoon) following the largest alcohol consumption day of the year. I on the other hand did not keep this resolution. I actually drank more alcohol in 2013 than in previous years. In my defense when you only drink a bottle of wine and a six-pack of beer over the course of 365 days there is not a lot of room to reduce. Please don’t misunderstand, I applaud the efforts of those who have quit drinking for medical or social reasons, but that is not really the spirit of this resolution which is better said by resolving to be hung-over less.
The next popular resolution is to learn something new. I did that. Do it every day, in fact. I think the point of this resolution is to learn a larger, more difficult skill like playing the guitar or learning conversational Latin. I have learned to blacksmith. I have learned a lot more about hunting than I used to know and thanks to my time here at The Power County Press I have learned how much I did not know about the English language and grammar.
Number four surprises me because it is so much farther down the list than I thought it would be. It is quit smoking. I failed this one because that would have required I start smoking in order to quit.
Next up is finding a better work/life balance. Yup, failed this one. I fill my evenings with high school sports, city council meetings and other events I attend for the purpose of writing about later. I take umbrage with this one because it assumes I don’t like what I do with my evenings and weekends. I love seeing this community work and play. I get the chance to see what my neighbors are doing and what they are concerned about. Maybe I missed the point of this resolution.
The sixth resolution on the list is to volunteer. Nailed it. There is really no good way to say this without it sounding like bragging, please understand that is not my intent. The topic is on the list and I do volunteer some of my time. On the list of popular resolutions this one I believe is one that a lot of people in the area successfully complete every year. Part of my life/work balance is seeing the thousands of hours people in this community volunteer every day.
Save money ranks as number seven on the list. I have failed miserably at this one. I don’t even have a savings account, let alone money in it. Unless you count the John Deere coin jar on my dresser. I honestly never thought to make this a resolution because it seems very universal, especially in this economy.
I tried to make the number eight resolution my New Year’s resolution about a decade ago and again was woefully unsuccessful. Number eight is getting organized. I failed by succeeding. I got more organized. A place for everything, and everything in its place. Then I found out I couldn’t find anything. What I decided was that I naturally put things in places and order in a way I intuitively understand. Being more organized transformed into understanding me better.
The ninth most popular resolution is; read more. I got this on in the bag. I was already a voracious reader. Reading is a major portion of my job description and I asked for a Kindle as my Christmas present. I think I am ok on this one.
Finally number 10: finish the household to-do lists. This has a mixed result for me because I have checked a significant number of things off of my to-do lists, but then I take that as permission to add new things to the list. I got a lot done other than actually shrinking the size of the list.
So what did I resolve to do in last year? How did I keep that resolution and how have I kept my New Year’s resolution for eight consecutive years in a row?
I turned the concept on its ear and made the New Year’s resolution to not make a New Year’s resolution. Since 2005 I have not had a New Year’s resolution.
It is freeing, especially in those first three months of the year. There is no self-applied pressure and no self-applied guilt in December. There is also the added benefit of being able to feel like a success on January 1 every year.
I think it is time for a change. I am making a new New Year’s resolution this year.
I am going with Shakespeare this year and I am taking Hamlet’s advice. To thine ownself be true.
This year I resolve to be me.
Happy New Year.