Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Utmost Action Plan

Dear George,

It’s time to be thinking seriously about our New Year’s resolutions. I’ve had exactly the same resolutions every year for the last twenty years: (a) exercise more; (b) lose ten pounds. I haven’t had much success yet, though I keep trying. According to the research, 52% of people are confident they will accomplish their New Year’s goals, but only 12% actually do so. That sounds about right. I plan to try to improve my odds for 2011 by adding more possibilities. Here’s what my list looks like so far:

Take the dogs out for a 30 minute walk at least once each day.

Practice line dancing at home five times a week

Eat more peaches, nectarines, and figs

Learn to identify the trees of southwestern Ohio

Read 10 or more stories in the New York Times every day

Be more sociable at the fitness center

Clean up my cluttered home office

Learn details about how my camera works

Find 365 interesting new sites on the Internet

Drink 10 cups of water every day

Cut down on Lean Cuisines – cook my own meals twice a week

Have a hearty laugh every day

All of these are fine ideas. I’d have to accomplish at least two of them to get past 12%, but I have my doubts. The only one I have any certainty about is having a hearty laugh, and I’m not even certain about that. The big problem of New Year’s resolutions is that, while they sound positive, they are things that we aren’t doing right now for reasons that are hard to alter (e.g., forgetting, no time, too much effort, opposing habits, having to give up enjoyable things, etc.).

A more realistic strategy is to pick New Year’s resolutions you have a good chance of achieving. For example, I’d have no trouble brushing my teeth every night or waking up every day before 2 p.m. These things, of course, don’t require any change. But here are some possibilities that involve bigger adjustments:

Eat only things I enjoy like chocolate peanut clusters and McDonald’s Double Quarter-Pounder Cheeseburgers

Spend more and more time reliving the past

Try to be less helpful around the house

Generate more computer passwords (five single-spaced pages aren’t enough)

Repeat the same stories at every social gathering (even though it’s the same people)

Hide behind trees in Burnet Woods and watch passersby

Quadruple my meager number of Facebook friends (39)

Spend most of my monthly allowance on useless collectibles.

I’m sure I could do better than 12% on this list. Some of these might sound frivolous, e.g., hiding behind trees in Burnet Woods, but I got this idea from seeing people doing just that. Maybe I will take three items from my first list and three items from my second list. That would increase my chances of reaching 12%. I’ll report back at year’s end. I hope this gives you some good ideas about your own resolutions.



G-Mail Comments

-Jennifer M (1-3): Very good! When I was reading the first list, I wondered why you would set yourself up for so much frustration. The second list looks much better. Perhaps I'll borrow some of them. :-)

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