Opinion

Another chance to get it right

Gord Turner - File
Gord Turner
— image credit: File

Here we are three weeks into the New Year, and a few of my friends have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions. Others are still on track, but the resolve to keep going is wavering.

Most New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past the first week. In fact, according to surveys, one-fifth of those making resolutions, don’t even get started. The resolution promise is broken the very first day. Those who truly want to throw out the old and bring in the new have to be exceptionally disciplined.

Most resolutions have to do with four issues. We want to lose weight and get into better shape. We want to cut back on food, drink, or smoking. We want to get out of debt or have a better financial future. And finally, we want to spend more “quality” time with our family and friends.

One article I was reading suggested that for a resolution to be adhered to people should not proclaim broad, earth-shattering resolutions. The resolution should be manageable and probably focus on minimal change. If you want to lose weight, for example, it might be wise to aim at losing one pound per month.

If you say you will lose 50 pounds from your fat bottom and gut in the year ahead, you’re probably bound to fail.  You didn’t have the discipline to keep your weight down in the first place, so how do you think that will happen now?  At the first big chow feed, you’ll simply say “bye, bye” to your resolution.

Aiming at one pound a month, however, gets you 12 pounds in a year, and that might be manageable.

So, I’ve come up with a few resolutions this year where I’m aiming low. For example, I’ve been told that for a healthy body, people should drink six glasses of water a day. I’m terrible in relation to this ideal because I often go several days without drinking a single glass of water. So, my simple goal will be to have one glass of water per day and try to get used to it.

I’m a notorious late-nighter. When I was a student, I often stayed up until three a.m., and nowadays I hit the pillow near midnight.

Because I am a senior, I am also waking up early, although I don’t want to. The health journal articles are telling me I need more sleep to be healthier than I am now.

So, I’ve made a resolution to go to bed one night a week at nine p.m. If I manage to sleep until the early hour I usually wake up, I will have gained three extra hours of shuteye. Indeed, for one night a week, I will have met the seven hours of sleep seniors are supposed to have.

Think of it this way, though. If I manage extra sleep one night a week, that accumulates as 52 nights of longer sleep a year. So a bit at a time can add up.

I’m also known for reading fast-moving fiction—usually mystery or intrigue novels from around the world, quite often several a week. I hardly ever touch other types of reading. To change this pattern, I’m going to read another type of book.

So, I’ve chosen non-fiction (maybe starting with a biography) for my final New Year’s resolution. I plan to read one non-fiction book every four months. As next January approaches, I will have read three books of a type I rarely read. And because my resolutions have been set so as not to burden myself with impossible goals, these resolutions should be easy to hang onto.

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