If you're anything like me, you've already fallen short on a New Year's resolution.
Oh boy, you're saying, "leave it to Stephen" to drop a guilt trip on a perfectly good Saturday. ... But wait, this is a column of encouragement - there's always 2013 to start anew again.
Then again, there's always tomorrow.
And that's the difference between previous years and 2012 for me. Lord willing, I still have decades of learning and growth ahead, but if there's one thing I've learned from failing miserably on previous New Year's resolutions, it's to just pick myself up and start over the next day (or hour, or minute).
Life growth doesn't have to be measured in years. New Year's resolutions have value and I don't think there's a person alive who couldn't benefit from a little self-evaluation and goal setting when the calendar turns, but it doesn't mean one little failure is cause to pack it in and wait for next year.
Improvement is a continuum, and everyone faces a few setbacks from time to time. That's where perseverance comes in - and believe me, I'm writing this column to myself as much as I am to you.
I've already failed once this year on one of my primary resolutions: to implement a morning routine that involves a good breakfast and some Bible reading, in addition of course to the standard hygiene activities we all do anyways (right?!).
For those of you who are early birds (lucky you), that may not be a big deal, but to a night owl like me whose mind won't shut up until well after midnight (it's been that way since elementary school), it's a lot to ask to be into work at 7 a.m. - particularly when you add in leeway for weather-related setbacks and a 20-minute drive. You do the math on how much sleep that equates to.
It's actually been going quite well so far, and I feel so much better to start the day - no matter how horrible 5:45 a.m. may look on my three obnoxious alarm clocks.
To put it in perspective, I used to get up at 6:15 (or 6:20, or 6:25, depending on snooze hits), never eat breakfast and race out the door, driving my wife crazy in the process.
Then there's my exercise resolution, which is quite simple: Do something every day. It's a tad more quantifiable than that, but doing something - anything - is a step in the right direction for me.
I suppose I'm like many former high school and college athletes who used to stay fit through mandatory school-related activities and had constant free gym access, and always played pick-up soccer/basketball/football/hockey/etc. games with friends in spare time - only to realize that's all gone now in "the real world."
You may recall I recently wrote a Wellness section feature on keeping New Year's resolutions, and one comment that I didn't get to use in the article from local fitness expert Terry Smythe really stuck out to me: "Thin isn't fit anymore than fat is unfit."
As a skinny guy with a naturally fast metabolism, that hit me. I'm not fit ... at all. I recently played in an alumni basketball game with my old high school teammates from the Copper Country Christian School, and, after a few times up and down the court, I was huffing and puffing.
That was quite a wake-up call for me. I'm starting slow with daily stretching and calisthenics, and some Wii Fit from time to time, but I already feel healthier and plan to build on my fitness goals.
Now that a decent chunk of the Copper Country knows my sleeping and exercise habits, I think I'll wrap up my New Year's resolution confessional, but hopefully at the very least you've come to the same conclusion as me: One little setback doesn't have to postpone goal-setting for another year. Any day can be a fresh start. Why not start again today?