Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions – oh, the joy of them. I make a list every year, and I haven’t checked off one of them yet. Most of the time, I go in the opposite direction, and so I have done a little self-reflection to understand the reasoning behind my un-kept resolutions.

The problem with New Year’s resolutions is you don’t get enough time to do everything you want. There are probably 20 items on my list each year, and there is no way I can achieve all of them in just 365 days, 52 weeks, or 12 months. Usually, my resolutions call for major change, and major change takes time – lots of it in my case.

When I try to accomplish them all in a year, I get discouraged and quit them all together (just think of a resolution as a really big life diet.) So, this year, I have only made five resolutions with the hope I will accomplish one of them before next Christmas.

The most common New Year’s resolutions according to the USA.gov website are
lose weight , pay off debt , save money , get a better job , get fit , eat right , get a better education, drink less alcohol , quit smoking , reduce stress overall , reduce stress at work, take a trip and volunteer to help others.

These are all good, but in my mind, you should be more general so you can more likely succeed at something. This year mine are simple: try to live a healthy lifestyle, improve time management, focus more on my personal life, sharpen the saw (taking a little tip from Franklin Covey), and enjoy life more.

Pretty general, huh? Let me explain my method.

When I say try to live a healthy lifestyle, I did not mean “run a marathon by Christmas.” I was simply referring to assessing my Diet Coke addiction and sleep deprivation. I know it doesn’t sound like much change, but let me tell you, for me, it is huge.

Right now, I probably drink eight to10 Diet Cokes a day, and I can’t remember the last time I actually drank a glass of water. I am completely and totally addicted (and certainly dehydrated). I am sure my insides are pickled with all the NutraSweet.

And sleep? I am the worst insomniac ever. I am over 30, and I still fight my sleep. Seems that I am a giant worry-wart, and when I turn off the lights -- my mind haunts me. If I could get at least six hours of sleep each night, I wouldn’t be so ADD.

The next two resolutions kind of work hand and hand. By improving time management, I would focus more on my personal life. I have been one-sighted when it came to the biggest thing in my life – work and school. It’s simple: I am a workaholic. Everything else just suffers.

Trust me, I need to make a dent in that enormous pile of laundry that never seems to get smaller or actually fold the clothes when I wash them instead of just getting what I need out of the dryer. Cooking every once in a while might be good, too. Frozen dinners and take out can take a toll after a while.

Several years ago, I took the Franklin Covey Time Management seminar, and since then, I have had the most unnatural connection with my weekly planner. The seminar is based on the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and let me say, I completely recommend this program to any busy professional. (Of course, I’m not real effective if I need to make a list of resolutions, but I like the idea of effectiveness.)

One major focus of this program is to “Sharpen the Saw.” The premise behind the idea is simple. Two men go into the woods to cut down a tree with a saw. One man has sharpened his saw and the tree falls quickly. The other man has a dull saw and he just saws and saws without ever accomplishing his task.

When I go home at night, I usually collapse with my Diet Coke (see, I told you!) and vegetate until I no longer can fight my sleep. I don’t do anything productive with my spare time. My problem is figuring out what is considered productive. I need to hone my skills (whatever they might be), but most of all, I need to exercise my brain in other ways outside of newspaper. I love to read, but have this awful habit of deducing from the first chapter if the author is an idiot or just trying to get accepted into Oprah’s Book Club. It is rare that I am actually blown away by an author these days – especially with Chic Lit so popular.

A while back, I read this book that was touted as being “the true story of Vlad the Impaler.” What I got was another Dracula book that killed Vlad in the end, but low and behold, it left an opening for a sequel. It was a little too Days of Our Lives “Marlana is possessed by the devil” for me.

This now brings me to my final resolution – enjoy life more. I have no game plan to accomplish this one. I need to find a hobby, and of course, I have no idea of what that might be.
Sports are out of the question because I have no hand-eye coordination and I don’t like to sweat. I don’t do the outdoors because I don’t do nature, and I don’t like to sweat. I tried gardening, and I like gardening except for the manual labor part. Also, I don’t like to sweat

So now, I am officially on a quest for a hobby. I need something relaxing like yoga without all the twisting and spandex (and chanting, not a fan of chanting). I need something creative like music and dance (by the way, I look like I am having a seizure when I dance). And I need something that requires skill like golf (I am very good at driving the cart).

Well, I have a year to figure out if golf cart interpretive dance actually works.
To all of you, Happy New Year!

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