New Year’s resolutions are an exercise in Monday morning quarterbacking. In essence, we’re resolving to do the things we now acknowledge we should have been doing all year. Resolving to start exercising more is an admission we haven’t taken care of ourselves as we know we should. Resolving to stay away from fatty foods is an indication we’ve been eating like Roman emperors for most of the year.
Resolving to get closer to God usually means our previous year’s religious commitments began and ended at saying “God bless you” when someone sneezed.
On the other hand, there’s something truly comforting in the idea that we can wipe the slate clean when the calendar resets. Instead of mourning the lost opportunities of the previous 365 days, we view them as preparation for the great things that await us in the next 365. Like the swallows of Capistrano, each January is greeted with a fresh set of promises that settle uneasily into our busy lives.
This year, my delicate, winged promises have taken the form of “six for ’16.” I’ve chosen six simple tasks that seem both optimistic and realistic. I use the “learn something, do something, be something” approach when planning my goals for the coming year: if I can do one of each, I look back on the previous year with pride.
More often than I care to admit, I fall short on several (if not all) of my New Year’s resolutions. However, they’re my waypoints on a journey riddled with detours.
This year’s first task is to learn to play one of my favorite songs on guitar. “Here Comes the Sun” should be the required coursework for any beginning guitar player (as opposed to “Stairway to Heaven,” which seemed to be mandatory when I first learned to play). The next is to use my passport in the coming year. It might as well be encased in glass for all the use it’s gotten in the last decade. This task includes a “hidden” goal because I’ll also need the discretionary income to take that trip in the first place.
Next up is to create an interesting geocache box to hide for those who participate in this global treasure hunt. Geocaching is something that simply makes the world a more interesting place, and it yields fascinating comments for the rest of the year.
One task that will require the greatest effort will be to complete a 5K run (preferably the Victoria Soto 5K race in Stratford). Running a 5K contains another hidden goal: to get in good enough shape to finish the race on my feet rather than in the back of an ambulance.
I’m always looking to integrate new ways to connect my students to the larger world around them, so my next task will be to discover a new way to incorporate service to the community into my curriculum. Lastly, I want to be the best husband, teacher, writer, and friend that I can be. Part of this goal is figuring out ways I can improve in these areas before undertaking the task of becoming more adept at them.
My hope is to write about each of these tasks in this column as the year progresses. If history serves, I’ll most likely be documenting a series of somewhat humorous humiliations along the way. Here’s to hoping you and your loved ones set yourselves up for your own humiliations in the attempt at bettering yourselves in the new year!
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