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   So what’s it going to be this year?  New Year’s Eve is tomorrow and I haven’t come up with my resolution yet.  Hmmm.  I know what a lot of people will be doing.  Vowing to exercise and eat healthier.  As usual, this holiday season has come with lots of dietary indiscretions and many boxes of chocolate are sitting in both my kitchen and my office.  I’m no saint; I’m indulging like everyone else.  Of course, I resolve to exercise more and eat right.  But that’s an ongoing issue for me- not the BIG RESOLUTION.  I’ll be in the gym tomorrow and probably on Jan. 1 as well.  Tomorrow, the gym will be empty.  On Jan 1, it will be packed.  By Jan. 14, it will be at the usual capacity with mostly just the regulars there again. So much for the exercise/eat healthy resolution.

   A group of my friends are planning to quit smoking for their resolution.  That is a very fine goal, in my opinion, and I am planning to help them in any way I can.  Probably a couple will succeed and the rest will not.  Smoking is a tough addiction.

   This year, I am thinking, ‘what should a New Year’s resolution consist of?’  Should it be about bettering myself?  About bettering the world?  Something that will make me happy? Healthy?  Something that will make me more productive?  Hopefully, all of the above.  I have plenty of flaws I can work on.  But which ones are priority?  What is most important to tackle now? What can I tackle that I actually have some hope of succeeding at, that will not just be an empty promise?

   What things can I do to be healthier?  Well, of course, eat better and exercise more… but also, I think, try to find the best balance possible between work and play and rest.  Always a tough act.  Really, almost impossible when work is taking care of other people, and family includes kids who, no matter how independent they may want to be, still need parenting (usually at the most inopportune moments), and life is just, well, unpredictable.  But I can work on that, I guess, scheduling in recreation and downtime.  Maybe that will actually make me more productive when I’m working.  That’s what’s supposed to happen.

   What about happiness?  What is is that a person can do to increase their happiness?  I’ve read the studies that show that we have happiness ‘set points’, which implies that there really isn’t much that can change how happy we are.  Some people are just more content and take things easier than others, apparently.  But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some play in the system.  Well-being is increased by doing things for others, by being with pets, by exercising (damn, not that again)…. Happiness apparently cannot be bought, as studies show that once a modest level of income above subsistence is reached, people are not happier.  And material items don’t bring happiness, in general.  It seems we get a brief lift from finding and purchasing things we want, but once we have them, our happiness quotients go back to baseline.  However, experiences, such as travel, cultural pursuits, and adventure, may actually increase happiness.  So what should I do about that?  I already have as many pets as I can handle, but I might look into working on a cause.  Not just giving a contribution here and there, and not sitting on a board, as I’ve done in the past, but maybe doing something where I get my hands a little dirty.  Something that will count for doing good for others and also experience?   I’m going to think about that.

   Meanwhile, I have one other idea.  Something I know has made me feel happier and more productive in the past has been to declutter.  In the past, I’ve gone on cleaning tears, going from room to room and closet to closet, exhausting myself over a couple of days, purging all the accumulated junk.  I’m not going to do it that way this time.  I’m going to make it a longterm project.  Each time I go to a drawer, I’ll clean it out if I have time.  On weekends, I’ll pick one closet or a bureau and clean that out.  It will be a slow and methodical decluttering, clearing out my environment and maybe my mind as well.  I’ll see how it affects me.

I’ll report back to you on all this. No empty promises this year.  See you in the gym?

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