For a Better Year Ahead – Ten Resolutions

New Year’s Eve: a night of revelry for many, a night of reflection for others; a time to either forget what happened in the year gone by or to celebrate significant achievements. Which is it for you? For most people it’s a little of both. Hardly a month goes by, let alone an entire year, without each of us facing a variety of challenges, missteps, and some outright dumb things that seem so easy to do.

Mark Twain, the great author and humorist who wrote in the late 1800s and early 1900s, said this about New Year’s Day: “New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.”

I’m not as cynical as Mark Twain, because I think there is something very exciting about the possibilities of the future. I’m a positive thinking kind of guy. I always think that no matter what happens to me that if I just look for the good in it, that something good can come out of it.

That’s why every time something bad happens to me I look for the good, for the advantage, for the silver lining in the cloud. And you know what? There’s always one there even though sometimes I have to look real hard to find it.

How does this relate to New Year’s Eve? Well, one guy said it like this: An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. Me? I’m the guy cheering on the coming of a new year with great anticipation. So, I’ve written ten resolutions anticipating an exciting and constructive 2014.

Ten Resolutions For a Better Year Ahead

  1. Take the stairs more often. This is something my wife and I already do. We live in a townhome where the bedrooms are upstairs and the family room and my home office are downstairs. We take many stair-steps every day and we like it that way. When we take the steps we try our best to NOT use the hand rail because by not using the handrail we increase leg strength and improve balance.
  2. Call more text less. I’m not one who texts a lot, mainly because it takes me more time to type a text with two thumbs than it does to call the other person and tell him what I want him to know.
  3. Eat at home more. Of all my resolutions, this one will be the hardest to keep, mainly because there is someone else involved in my daily life and that’s the lovely and gracious Mrs. Ross. And she likes to eat out. But don’t let me blame it all on her, so do I. What we really love to do is share meals together whether at home or in a restaurant, and being together is what matters most.
  4. Find a couple of ways to get out of my comfort zone. I’m 70-years-old and I like my comfort. One problem with aging is the temptation to quit doing just about everything that keeps a mind awake and a body active. I get tired fast and sometimes use it as an excuse not to go somewhere or do something or meet someone. So this year I’m going to push myself a couple of times to do something new, something exciting, something that makes me stretch a little.
  5. Spend more time reading books and less time surfing the Internet. This one is likely to be as difficult to keep as the one on eating out. I love the Internet. But I have this big stack of books, real books, books with covers and tables of contents and chapters, you know what I’m talking about don’t you? And many of them I have never read. This year, yea that’s right, this year I’m going to read them.
  6. Hand-write real letters. Like real books, real hand-written letters are disappearing – and I don’t think that’s good. I’m going to personally hand write all my grandchildren a special letter this year. I think they will love it; this is one challenge I will enjoy.
  7. Fewer cause postings on Facebook. I’m thinking that most of my 394 friends on Facebook don’t really care what I think about Obamacare, Bengazi, or Gay Marriage, but they do enjoy a little news from the wife and me and a photo once in awhile.
  8. Increase eye contact. Have you noticed how few people look you in the eye? It’s time to start looking folks in the eye, greeting them politely, and smiling at them.
  9. In the same vein, I’m going o call everyone by name whose name I can discover. I’ve already started this and it’s fun to do. Every waitperson with a name tag I call by name. Every check-out person with a name badge I greet by their name. You’ll be surprised how many times you’ll get better service and spread some real joy when you call people by their name.
  10. Do ONE thing really good. I just finished a book titled “The One Thing.”  In the introduction, the author points out we all have the same number of hours in each day, but some people seem to get much more done than others. He asks, “How do they do more, achieve more, earn more, have more? If time is the currency of achievement, then why are some able to cash in their allotment for more chips than others?”  Then he answers his own question: “The answer is they make getting to the heart of things the heart of their approach. They go small.” He continues, “When you want the absolute best chance to succeed at anything you want, your approach should always be the same. Go small.”

Resolution number 10 may be the most important resolution on the list. I’m going to stop trying to be all things to all people and instead focus on my destiny, why I’m here and what kind of legacy I’m to leave.

Take some time now and make YOUR New Year’s Resolutions so your 2014 will be your best year yet!

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