I don’t usually make a lot of resolutions. Those I do, I tend to keep simple. There are usually a lot of goals, and I talk about those all over the place. Several posts about my writing goals for 2014 will be appearing in the next few days, for example, so I don’t need to cover those here, and I have karate goals and financial goals and cleaning the house goals, among others.
But I’m doing a bit more for resolutions this year. Sort of.
There’s always one, and it’s the first one on the short list that follows, but for a change there are others. None of them are terribly specific, and they certainly don’t count as SMART goals by any means. They’re designed to keep me in a good state of mind, which isn’t always easy for any of us. As a matter of fact, it’s damned hard sometimes, but challenge makes us stronger, right? Giving up is the biggest failure.
Resolution #1: Be better at the husband and father thing.
Right, how vague is that? But it’s not, really. It just means keeping my family uppermost in my mind. With practice, that’s slowly become easier, though I still slip once in a while, or get distracted. That makes me human. The point of the matter, and many people are fond of saying it: family first. Play, talk, teach, enjoy.
Resolution #2: Be kind.
It’s easy to let your emotions rule, to snap when you’re irritable or sleep-deprived (ask me about the second one of those) or even just say what you’re thinking. It’s harder, sometimes, to take a moment and be kind when you’re responding, especially when you’re responding to something that’s not what you hoped/expected it to be. Consider what might be in the other person’s head and heart for just a brief instant, or what they might be going through, and you’ll probably come up with a better response that works for both sides of the equation.
Extend this beyond responses, into initial actions. Say hello. Smile. Pet the cat whenever you walk by. Hold doors open for people. In general, think about what other living creatures need and want and appreciate, and go just a little out of your way to provide some of that.
Resolution #3: Be polite.
This goes hand in hand with resolution #2. Manners cost nothing, and think about this: people remember if you’re nice to them just as much as they remember if you’re a jerk to them. Which of those two things is likely to make the world around you (including your own life part of it) better? Set the good example wherever you can and expect the same of the people around you. Call them on it when you don’t get it. Just be polite about it.
Resolution #4: Read more.
I used to read a lot more (see my note on reading challenges for 2014). I probably won’t get to pre-children levels ever again. Well, maybe when I’m retired, if ever. But this resolution is more to make me think about what I’m doing with downtime, not that I get much of it. Television is easy and mindless, and most of it is stupid and a waste of time. Not all of it, but most of it. A lot of the time, I’d be better off with a book and I want to remember that.
Resolution #5: Think more.
Douglas Adams famously observed this about people in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: “If human beings don’t keep exercising their lips, their brains start working.” Less talk = more thought.
I think about things a lot, but I don’t see this as a bad thing even though it sometimes helps me dwell on things I can’t change in the past or worry about things that haven’t happened yet. The more you think about the possibilities that might come to pass, the more you’ll be prepared for the things that actually do happen.
Plus, while I may not be Vulcan, I firmly believe it’s better to control and channel your emotions than to be controlled by them.
2014, Here I Come
Another year begins today. It’s a marker on the calendar, nothing more. But that makes it a good place to take stock and set new benchmarks. I’ll turn 44 at the end of the year, and that’s a neat number and a good age.
But then, aren’t they all?
Be well, everyone.by