Holy crap, it’s January 15th already – how the hell did that happen?
I learned long ago that making New Year’s resolutions is a fool’s game. Best intentions on January 1st quickly become forgotten by February 1st, which is probably why I weigh the same today as I did last year, and the year before, and the year before that.
Of course, the start of a new year is a chance to set some priorities and goals, and I’ve come up with a few. This isn’t meant to be a confessional where I point out significant character flaws and pledge to address them (although that could be an interesting exercise) – rather, just a list of things I’d like to do this year. Perhaps some of them will resonate with you and we can tackle ’em together.
1. Don’t procrastinate. Not off to such a good start on this one – this post was supposed to be written two weeks ago. In any case, my goal is to get stuff done today, not tomorrow. I have a tendency to put off the hard stuff to another day, and then the hard stuff grows ever harder and nastier in my mind until I’m awake at 4:00 am worrying about it. Just do it, already.
2. Call a friend at least once a week. With Facebook and Twitter, I feel both more and less connected with friends than ever. I know a little bit about lots of people, which I mistake for genuine interaction. I’ve forgotten the value of a good conversation, that an iPhone is an actual phone and not just a social media interface. So, I’m going to make time at least once a week to talk to friends by phone – an honest-to-goodness back-and-forth conversation.
3. Write letters and cards. Similar to above, I’d like to get better at putting pen to paper. A post on someone’s wall on their birthday isn’t quite the same as a card in the mail – I know I’d like to receive something other than bills and junkmail in my mailbox.
4. Try one new recipe a week. I love to cook, but I’ve fallen into the habit of making the same eight dishes over and over. I picked up a couple of new cookbooks over the holidays, and I’ll be subjecting my family to at least one new recipe each week. A few lessons at the Urban Element couldn’t hurt, either.
5. Read at least one book a month. It’s not that I can’t read or don’t enjoy it – I’m simply spending most of my reading time with newspapers, magazines, and websites. It should be as simple as leaving the iPhone downstairs at night and taking a book to bed. I’ve started with William Alexander’s 52 Loaves: One Man’s Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust, a Christmas gift from B about the author’s attempt to bake the ultimate loaf of bread. That’s it – five simple items on my to-do list. I’ve left off the hard stuff – be less cynical, lose 10 pounds of fat, gain 10 pounds of muscle, run a marathon – in favour of little things that should be entirely doable. The first secret to success is to lower your expectations.