I always make New Year's Resolutions. Do you? Actually, the real question is, do you make New Year's Resolutions and keep them? The two biggest resolutions I've made and kept were to quit smoking (1989) and to write a daily blog post (2011). I've obviously forgotten and/or abandoned the rest. I looked into the history of New Year's resolutions … thank you, Wikipedia. It seems the idea of reflecting on the past year and making plans for the new year is nothing new. The Babylonians did it and so did the Romans. Medieval knights renewed their vows to chivalry at year's end. It's definitely a logical time to look at what you've done or didn't do during the past year and make some improvements. It's a time of new beginnings. Say goodbye to the old; let it go. Embrace the new.
Interesting, but not surprising, studies show that during the past century, the nature of resolutions has changed drastically. People used to resolve to better themselves in some intrinsic way: be more generous, be more cheerful, be more helpful to others, be more involved in community. Today folks tend towards more superficial and self-centered changes: better clothes, better body, better stuff, better job.
A low percentage of people actually keep their resolutions, but the percentage increases when 1) you share your resolution/goal with others; 2) set reasonable expectations and 3)set specific goals instead of broad ones, e.g. “exercise 30 minutes/day at least 3 times/week” versus “exercise more”. I also think writing down your goals and then reviewing those goals during the year help to reinforce your resolve and contribute to your success. Just the process of examining yourself and thinking about who you are and what you might want to improve is a positive action.
I found a blog that was very insightful in making resolutions. Lifehacker seems to provide a reasonable formula for making and keeping resolutions that improve your lifestyle. He looks at developing a preliminary plan, “a scaffolding”, he calls it, which sets you up for success.
So you haven't really given this much thought, but now you think it's a good idea? Start setting up the framework now and work into the resolutions. It doesn't have to start January 1st...it can start February 1st. Just set a specific date that you can work towards. It's never too late to start, but heck don't let it go another year. Goals are much easier to attain if you set them in the first place.
So … with that in mind, I give you my New Year's Resolutions 2013:
Get rid of the junk food on the boat and start eating healthier.
This is easier once we're at sea, but it's such a temptation when we have access to a supermarket regularly. I need to lose weight and I know it. Cutting down on the junk food intake will help considerably. Giving up that second glass of wine in the evenings might help, too, but I don't want to take this too far.
Walk / exercise at least ½ hour every day.
When I start writing each morning, I'm in “sit-down” mode for hours. My goal is to get up off my keister and do something … walking is one way to get some exercise at least ½ hour every day. While we're on passage, I'll figure out something else. I know that once exercise becomes a habit and a part of your life, it's much easier. Maybe every time I have the urge to grab a snack, I should go for a walk? My sister, Lin, is so good at this and so is Gentry (the blog mistress). I wish it was a genetic thing instead of requiring so much effort. Yeah, yeah. No pain... no gain.
Finish writing a book.
I have several books “in the works”. They've been “in the works” for a couple of years now, all in various stages of “unfinished”. It can be an e-book or a cookbook or a novel or a compilation of sailing stories. Anything...but I need to get one finished.
I might also add that if all else fails... January 17th is the official “Ditch Your New Year's Resolutions Day”. Just kidding.
Days and Ways to Celebrate
A daily list of mostly obscure holidays and fun ways to celebrate them.
New Year's Day
...on the Gregorian calendar anyway. First day of the New Year and usually celebrated by recuperating from the festivities of the night before.
First Foot Day
First Foot is celebrated in several countries including Greece and Scotland. The first person to set foot in your home (or on your boat maybe?) after the stroke of midnight on New Year's is thought to bring good luck. It's not usually a resident family member and the person cannot be in the house at the stroke of midnight. The visitor usually brings some traditional gifts like bread, a coin and perhaps some whiskey or wine signifying that you'll have enough to eat, drink and spend for the upcoming year.
Start the First Foot tradition by spreading the word in advance and then visiting friends and neighbors with the traditional gifts to insure their good luck.