Resolving to avoid resolutions this year … or not

Those who know me know that I have a couple of flaws. Not many, mind you, but a few.

OK, so I’m flawed up and down and all around, but isn’t everyone.

So, like many of us, I’ll be making a few resolutions – vows to make positive changes in the coming year.

Of course, most of us do not have the will power to follow through with those pesky little promises such as to lose weight, cut down on drinking and other vises … whatever.

I suppose top of what could be consider a resolution is the vow to find employment in the first quarter of 2010. I was laid off in March and hate the thought to be out of work for a year. The thought of that is incredibly demoralizing.

But I have kept a relatively positive outlook to this point and I know things will get better. It was not my fault that I was laid off from the job I had at a newspaper, merely the effects of a shifting economy.

And I haven’t been alone. No one will know the exact numbers, of course, but the estimate is that there were 15 million to 16 million Americans out of work – 15 million to 16 million. That is a lot of people not working who wanted to be working.

So, I resolve to work … and no one will get in my way on that issue.

I also resolve to drink a bit less. I am in a profession that traditionally has been a drinking profession. Heck, not long before I got into it, there was an ashtray on every desk and a bottle of burbon in every drawer.

Eating more healthy foods is always a good thing. Since I was laid off, I sort of fell off the good-food wagon. I suppose I’ve jumped onto the comfort-food wagon, which is not as healthy as it might seem. So, eating healthy foods. That means fresh and organic.

Since being laid off it is clear that I do not know as much as I have made others believe I know. I need to expand my knowledge. That either means going back to school, taking advantage of online courses or taking advantage of my next employer’s tuition reimbursement benefit.

Exercising more is a must.

OK, I do not floss as often as I should. So, 2010 will be the Year of Floss.

Resolutions in review

1) Get working

2) Drink less

3) Eat healthy foods

4) Learn, learn, learn

5) Exercise

6) Floss

You know, if I can get any single resolution resolved, I’ll be good.

As the opinion page editor at The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., I wrote a couple of columns about making resolutions. Hey, it was an easy topic. Below are two of those columns. Enjoy … or not.

Resolved to be resolved

Editor’s Note: The author was the opinion page editor of The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., when this column was first published on Dec. 28, 2005.

By Keith Michaud

So, it’s like this – I did not exactly fulfill my New Year’s resolutions last year, the most grandiose of which was to live life with a little more gusto. Yep, that one just sort of slipped away from me in 2005, so it goes back onto the list for 2006.

To that I will add the routine, customary and otherwise previously unfulfilled resolutions from past years:

I resolve to drink less booze.

I resolve to drink more water.

I resolve to sip more green tea and less coffee. No, really. I mean it. I’m going to drink less coffee this year. Really.

I resolve to eat more leafy vegetables and fewer fried foods.

I resolve to exercise more.

I resolve to sleep more.

I resolve to relax more and stress less.

I resolve to visit one place that I have been meaning to visit since I moved to California more than 20 years ago – Yosemite National Park.

I resolve to reconnect with at least one friend, someone I let slip away many years ago. I resolve to make new friends.

I resolve to be better in my work and in my life.

I resolve to be a better son, better brother, better friend.

I resolve to obey traffic laws – most of the time.

I resolve to do something nice for myself.

I resolve to do something nice for someone else.

I resolve to hold my tongue if I cannot say something pleasant to or about someone.

I resolve to watch less TV, listen to more music and read more classics.

I resolve to see more movies.

I resolve to be kind to strays.

I resolve to continue to feed crumbs to the little birds that gather around my table while I am having coffee outside. Oops, while I am having my green tea.

I resolve to be more tolerant of others … even when they are wrong.

I resolve to be more humble … even when I am right. And I’m always right. (Well, maybe not always.)

I resolve to avoid reality TV at all cost.

I resolve to play better golf and more often.

I resolve not to throw my clubs when I do not play better golf.

I resolve to not be too hard on myself if – and when – I am unable to fulfill a few of these resolutions. Life is a process, after all.

I resolve to live my life more boldly, bravely and hopefully. Oh, and live life with more gusto.

It is a pretty long list. I do not expect that I will get through it all. But there is always next year.

So, goodbye and good riddance to 2005. The sooner we forget 2005 the better.

And hello 2006. I resolve to give it a better chance than 2005 gave us all.

Resolving now to add gusto

Editor’s Note: The author was the opinion page editor of The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., when this column was first published on Dec. 29, 2004.

By Keith Michaud

Resolutions. Who really needs ’em, anyway? Does anyone actually hold to them throughout the year?

I doubt it, but we all need the annual rite in some form or other. Making resolutions, as we are apt to do this time of year, helps us settle – or simply forget – old debts. It cleans the slate and gives us a new view for the future, a basic outline of how we want to improve our lot and improve our living. It gives us a second chance – or third or fourth chance – to mend old habits and get a fresh start.

The practice must come from our nearly inextinguishable optimism. We hope because to stop would make us less human. Resolutions help us renew that hope at a time of year when things are gray and dreary. And because of that, I suppose, the making of resolutions is really part of our survival instinct.

Of course, among the basic healthwise and rational resolutions are: get in shape, eat less and more healthily, drink less booze, stop smoking, get to that closet and clean out those clothes that have gone unworn for forever, balance that checkbook. Live life with more gusto.

I suppose that has to be mine for the coming year – live life with more gusto.

Here are a couple of resolutions for us all:

As Vacans, we should resolve to do better for our neighbors in need. More of us can afford to contribute, not necessarily with money, but by volunteering for any one of the many worthy service agencies in Vacaville and Solano County.

We can also resolve to be vigilant and do what we can to make Vacaville and Solano County the best possible place it can be. To set reasonable growth and economic expectations and work to achieve them.

As Californians, we must resolve to keep a watchful eye down Interstate 80 to Sacramento. Those boys and girls under the dome need close watching. (Our lawmakers should resolve to do a far better job of conducting the public’s business.)

As Americans, we should resolve to be better to each other, in this country and aboard. We have fewer and fewer friends outside our borders. We should resolve to change that in the coming year. And the November elections left a rift in this nation that has not completely healed. We should resolve to change that, too.

We should resolve to support our troops, even when our government and military leaders seem insistent on showing their lack of support by bungling the so-called war on terror. Our servicemen and women deserve far, far better than they are getting or will get. We should resolve to do better by them and the sacrifices they make.

We should resolve to do our best. For hope’s sake.

I am not sure if resolutions make much difference except to acknowledge that none of us – not a single one of us – is perfect. None of us know everything there is to be known. None of us is wise enough to solve all the ills or ease all the woes of this world.

But the idea of making resolutions means we recognize that and that we strive to be better than we were. We know what’s wrong with us and we want to do what is humanly possible to make us better. Perhaps not perfect, but better.

That’s human and that’s OK.

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