I got your resolutions right here!

Like it or not, New Year's Day is upon us, and it's time to start thinking about how you can be a better person in the year to come.  Whether you make new year's resolutions or not, you have to admit that the middle of winter is a perfect time for self-reflection.  It's dark, it's cold, and there's really very little else to do.  Plus, assuming that you follow a solar calendar of some kind, there's that whole end of the year thing.

It's not easy, it may not even be fun, but this is the time: you need to become a better you.  But this year is different!  No, you're still going to break that promise to eat healthily by halftime of the Rose Bowl.  This year is different because I've done the work for you!  I've already figured out what all your resolutions need to be.  All you have to do is keep reading.  You can thank me in the comments.

Now, before we get into what we will do to become better, more enlightened, and healthier people in 2014, let's talk about what we won't resolve to do.

1. We will not resolve to exercise.

Let's be honest: you and I both know that winter is the worst possible time to start a new exercise regimen.  You can't go outside because it's too cold and wet, so the only option is the gym, and those exercise machines are boring.  You won't last a month.  Plus, I don't need all your pudgy butts clogging up my gym.  It was just fine without you the other eleven months of the year, so let's not punish January.  If you want to start working out, do it in May when you can get outside.  Riding a bike is much more interesting when the scenery changes.  As an added bonus, if you start then you can make your kids do it with you.  Trust me: nothing shuts up a hyper 13-year-old like the words, "Let's go for a run!"

2. We will not resolve to eat more healthily.

Again, could you pick a worse time for this resolution?  The only "fresh" fruits and vegetables have to be flown in from South America, your body's in fat-storing mode because of the weather, and it's playoff season.  Let's be honest with ourselves: the healthy diet can wait until soccer season, whenever that is.

3. We will not resolve to stop drinking, smoking, or cursing.  

Save it for Lent.


OK, on to the positive side of things.  Here are your resolutions for the new year.  If it helps, you can read them out loud, especially if you're sitting in a crowded room.  That makes them stick better.

1. We resolve to be civil, to try to see things from a different point of view (if only for a second), and to think before we speak, type, or text.

Look, I enjoy a smart-ass comment as much as the next guy (see the entire contents of this blog for reference), but we all could stand to take it down a notch.  There's a difference between humor and abuse, just as there is between healthy debate and mindless bashing.  In our race to be the funniest, smartest, and most correct person in the room, we've forgotten that the creature on the other side of the conversation is a human being just like us.  We also seem to have forgotten that the speck in the other guy's eye is a lot smaller than the 2x4 sticking out of our own eye, and in our haste to rush over and point out his flaws we risk injuring ourselves and everyone around us.  This year, let's take a moment to think before we speak.  Let's remember that we aren't perfect, and even if we were that would only make us more insufferable to be around.  Let's stop, take a deep breath, and think about what we would like someone to say to us, then let's try to say that to the other guy.  And if he insists on being a jerk, you know what we're going to do?  We're going to walk away, because putting him in his place, while it might feel good for a moment, just escalates the verbal arms race.  You and me, we're going to be the better men and women in the conversation for once.

2. We resolve to stop making each other crazy.

Speaking of races, we're also going to stop living life like it's a 100-meter dash, or maybe a series of them.  We're going to stop racing to be the first to arrive at work and the last to leave, as though they gave out attendance awards at the end of the year.  We're going to recognize that the work will still be there tomorrow (and the next day, and the next…), but that our spouses, our kids, our health, and our passions might not.  We're going to give ourselves and each other permission to set the work down today and pick it up tomorrow, so that we can go home and enjoy those perishable treasures of family, exercise, and non-salary-earning interests.  You know what?  We're even going to let each other go on vacation without making a single joke about how the dedicated people are staying at the office.  Then we're going to come back to work, refreshed from the break, and kick the competition's ass together.

3. We resolve to leave everything better than we found it.

This year, every day, in every situation, we are going to figure out how we can make things better because we were there.  And when we say everything, we mean everything: our work, our families, our places of worship, our social gatherings, everywhere we go.  We will not be content to just pass through.  At the end of the day, we are going to ask ourselves, "In even a small way, did I make someone's life better today?" and we're going to be disappointed in ourselves if we can't find a way to say yes.

In spiritual terms, we call this "being a blessing."  In practical terms, you can call it "not being a waste of life."  Life is a team sport, and if you aren't contributing to the team then you're headed for the bench.  This year, we will be superstars at the game of life, and we will change the world one tiny moment at a time.


There, feel better?  I'm glad that I could help you with this little chore so that you can get down to some serious celebrating.  Happy new year!
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