A man thinkingWith the New Year upon us, we all partake in the common custom of writing New Year’s Resolutions for ourselves. There’s something about a new year that makes us all want to do better than we did the previous year. I’m no stranger to this custom and in years past, I’ve made long lists of things that I would do differently, or new things that I’d learn, or try over the next year. Like most of us I’m sure, I’ve never really kept my resolutions, much less remembered what they were. I want this year to be different. I want to keep my New Year Resolutions and be able to look back in pride at what I’ve accomplished.

The biggest problem that I have with setting resolutions is that I can’t remember what they were 6 months from now. Since I now have a weblog, it’s only natural that I should post them here. This way I have a permanent record in which to refer to. The bonus feature of posting them on a weblog is that I have built in accountability. Posted for all the world to see, I can’t gloss over them like I may have done in past years when only my wife knew what they were.

The other problem with my past resolutions is that I’ve had too many. I make a list that’s so long that it’s too hard to integrate them into my daily life. Life gives us enough to-dos and deadlines that demand our attention, trying to keep up with 10 additional “woulda shoulda couldas” isn’t easy. So this year, I decided that I’d limit myself to 3 resolutions. There’s no end to the number of things that I’d like to improve upon, or learn to do, so I’ve thought long and hard about what the 3 most important things that I should resolve to do would be. Here they are:

Resolution #1: I Will Face Life Head On
This may sound a bit esoteric, or too broad of a resolution, but let me assure you it is not. This is a very personal topic and one that I haven’t discussed here in the weblog before, so for once I’ll be vague and obtuse. Suffice to say that this resolution means changing some of my habits and confronting certain fears on a daily basis. There are specific things that I’ve established as milestones and checkmarks to track my progress and let’s leave it at that. 😛

Resolution #2: I Will Be Active
Last year I began cycling again and I want to continue cycling as much as possible. The Natchez Trace tour was fantastic and my goal is to do two to three short tours a year and I’m already talking with Mike Rohde about a three day ride through Wisconsin in June. However, I also plan to do more in the way of going to the gym, doing yoga in the morning, that sort of thing. My goal is to do three activities per week. Three bike rides, three trips to the gym, or any combination thereof. This is also in addition to daily walks. I’m not saying I’m going to take a walk each and every day, but I do plan on walking more each week.

Clearly this is targeting health and losing weight, but I’ve found that the key to losing weight is changing your lifestyle, not going on a fad diet. So instead of saying I’m going to do Atkins, I think focusing on being more active is the key.

Resolution #3: I Will Learn A New Language
The last resolution was a tough one. The first two were easy candidates because they stood out due to their importance or urgency. The third one had many candidates, but I ended up choosing “Learning Another Language” because it’s been on my New Year’s Resolutions list so many years running. Each year I say I’m going to learn a new language and each year I don’t.

So which language should I choose? I’ve been debating over two languages and it’s a dead heat over which one will win out. The obvious candidate is Spanish because there is a large Spanish-speaking community in Nashville and we have a Spanish television station, so I would have more opportunities to use it. The key to learning any language is to immerse yourself in it whenever possible and there’s more opportunities to do that with Spanish. The only downside is that I’m not as passionate about the language as I am with other ones.

The other language that I’m considering is French. I love the French language and culture and I grew up on a derivative of that culture in Louisiana. I like just about everything that is French, but there aren’t as many opportunities to use the language here in Nashville. I’m sure that I might uncover a small community here or there, but there’s no guarantee of that. The only thing I know for certain that would expose me to the French language is one television show on PBS called “French In Action.”

There’s little purpose in learning a language if you can’t use it, so I’m opting for Spanish. Both French and Spanish are romantic languages and there is nothing saying that I can’t learn French next year, so I don’t think choosing one over the other is going to be detrimental to the other choice.

So there you have it – my three New Year’s Resolutions for 2004. We will see if having a shortened public record will have any impact on my ability to keep my resolutions. Only time will tell. 🙂