Opinions vary widely on the value of New Year's resolutions, probably because resolutions vary just as widely in effectiveness. But count me in the category that considers them worthwhile.
They're always tricky to create because they're usually developed when we're at our most ambitious. The execution falls apart when we're at our laziest. These considerations need to be built in, and gameplanning for perfection as the only option is a recipe for failure.
In fact, maybe you're reading this less than a week into 2013 and have already fallen short on a resolution. Read on; this isn't a guilt trip.
One of the best realizations I've come to regarding resolutions is that it's OK to start over the next day. When I was a young teenager I can vividly recall setting some completely unrealistic life-changing resolutions that I would inevitably fall short of well before February. Then I'd tell myself, "Well, there's always next year."
What a foolish approach.
Much is made of resolutions on Jan. 1, and rightfully so, because it's so much easier to be in the right mindset at the dawn of a new year, but resolutions can be made anytime.
Need to exercise more? I do, but for you sports buffs like me, there's probably no worse time to start that exercise than Jan. 1, one of the best football-watching days of the year.
Need to eat healthier? I do, but maybe it's all right to polish off the mountains of leftovers and start on the next grocery shopping trip.
So, don't be afraid to start a resolution today, or next week, or next month, or anytime a change is needed.
And as I alluded to earlier, setting realistic resolutions is critical. Going from couch potato to marathon runner isn't going to happen overnight (or ever if running isn't your thing). Start with 15 minutes on a treadmill or take a walk around the block with the dog.
Another important key to resolution success is making them measurable and quantifiable. It's great to slap "Eat better" on a list and call it a resolution, but our minds have a way of justifying such things. "Well, I did have one less potato chip. Success."
I'm still working on my nutrition-related resolution(s) for 2013, but it'll be a lot easier to implement once my wife returns from vacation visiting her parents. For now, drive-thrus and microwaves are my friends.
I'm still going on my April 1 resolution to not drink pop for a year, which I've written about at length previously - I was an addict - and I'm already trying to figure out how I'm going to handle that come April 1. I refuse to let myself slip back into horrible pop habits. In any case, I've at least built up some habits with some alternative healthy beverages.
Another one of my primary resolutions this year, as a Christian, is to not only read the Bible more through some helpful reading plans on my iPhone YouVersion app, but to better live out what I read. I have some quantifiable measures of that between me and God, but I pray this year I'll do a better job of "walking the walk."
Anyways, even if you're not a believer in making resolutions, I think everyone can benefit from a little introspection, and I don't think there's anyone out there who can't think of some area of improvement they could make. Call it a resolution, call it a goal, call it what you want, but take this chance to find something you can do better this year. I pray 2013 will bring positive change and joy to the wonderful people of the Copper Country.
Stephen Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.