Monday, January 2, 2012

#116 - 2012: Thoughts on the Year Ahead

When I was younger, I had this tradition (or superstition, if you will) of making ten New Year's resolutions every New Year's Eve. Not nine, not 11, but ten. (I suppose I have to accept that my son gets some of his OCD tendencies from me.) Every year, I had a perfect record. Each year, I would make ten resolutions, and each year, I would break ten resolutions.

As I got older, I began to realize that making and breaking ten resolutions, while consistent, was not likely to lead to any kind of success I could build upon. (I am, you might say, a slow learner.) So I pared the list down. Some years, I'd make five resolutions, some years two or three. I think there were even a few years when I made no resolutions of any kind. Regardless of the number, I remained consistent, not keeping a single one.

This year, I've decided to try yet again. (I did say I was a slow learner.) I've decided to make one single resolution. My resolution for 2012 is to be better to myself. Vague, I know (something my wife was quick to point out), which is part of the point. Because it is such a broad resolution, I have a pretty decent chance of keeping it at some level.

But what exactly do I mean by resolving to be better to myself? Any number of things, really. At one level, I mean this to say I will be kinder to myself and not beat myself up of silly mistakes or over things I didn't or haven't done or things I did but perhaps shouldn't have. I have a tendency to be hard on myself when I screw up. My resolution is not intended to let me slide when I make a mistake but to not allow myself to dwell on it or wallow in self-pity.

At another level, being better to myself means being better to my body. One of the things I want to do in 2012 is cut down on my consumption of processed foods. This is somewhat easier said than done, I know, but I can make a decent effort simply by cutting out foods that come in a box, such as Hamburger Helper (or any of its Helper cousins), Rice-a-Roni, and other such box meals.

Since early retirement is not a likely option (Teresa won't go for it, for one thing), I need to do what I can so that I can enjoy retirement when it comes. That means lowering my blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, dropping some weight, and so on. Reducing my intake of processed foods can only help in this regard.

Being better to myself also means enjoying the things I have, enjoying the people around me, and not worrying or thinking so much about what I don't have or can't do. It also means not comparing myself to others, something I don't do much anyway but don't need to do at all.

Finally, I suppose being better to myself also means enjoying each day to the best of my ability and not worrying so much about what other people think about whether I am enjoying life or doing the right thing, etc. In other words, even as I make attempts to change certain aspects of myself and my life, I also need to accept and appreciate who I am.

So, yes, my single resolution to be better to myself in 2012 is a broad one, with numerous possibilities. If I can fulfill even one of those possibilities, then 2012 will be a successful year. Here's hoping your 2012 is also a success, however you define it.