“Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” -Mark Twain
New Years is the only holiday that celebrates the passage of time. Because of this, every year on this day roughly 33% of Americans resolve to improve their lives in some way. A much smaller percentage of people actually make good on those resolutions. While about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, only 46% are still on target six months later.
Instead of making ambitious, wide-eyed resolutions for myself, I prefer to take the “step by step”, continuous improvement route. That is, in 2012, I will strive to hit small, attainable goals daily. Most importantly, I want to remind myself that it will come down to me taking the necessary action to achieve what I set out to do. And secondly, I know that I will need to be ready to accept the challenges that will inevitably arise in the process. I want to remind myself that all I can control is how I react to those challenges. For me, these are lofty enough resolutions. I need to simply take it one day at a time, and I am hopeful that the rest will follow.
Ever since my near-fatal auto accident in July 2005, I’ve adopted this pragmatic philosophy. I suppose it’s because of my experience of being partially paralyzed. Taking it step-by-step, and in small doses—with the ultimate goal of re-learning to walk—was realistically all I could physically do at the time. As it relates to my goals in 2012, if I fool myself into believing “I’m going to do this and keep it up all year”, I’ll set myself up for failure. Instead, I’m simply going to ask myself, “What can I do today?” to improve my overall life. And knowing myself as I do, in order to be more accountable, it will be helpful to share with others who actually care.
In my professional life at The Guardian, five of us advisors (we refer to ourselves as “Team LocoMoco”) recently came together to create a production unit that meets Mondays and Fridays at 8:00am. The team helps me to address the inevitable bumps in the road that occur, and also learn from their different approaches. It is my belief that having this support system in place will help me to continually improve on a daily basis, and get through the challenging, rough times we are all sure to face.
As for my personal life, one simple, health-related resolution I will try in 2012 is to eat more fish. Evidence is strong that the oils in fish, such as salmon and tuna, are beneficial for the heart and brain, and may even lower the risks of cancer. I’m already taking a fish oil supplement for this reason. Another goal related to my overall well-being is to get 8 hours of sleep a night. A number of recent studies have confirmed that you really do need at least 8 hours a night. And for me, I feel better when I do. When I boil it all down, my goals for a stellar New Year are quiet attainable: eat more fish, sleep more consistently, and take life one step at a time.
Best wishes for a wonderful New Year filled with peace and prosperity. Here’s to your continued success in 2012!