A few years ago I was on a holiday vacation with my then-girlfriend / future-wife in Argentina. Between meals consisting almost exclusively of bife de lomo (tenderloin steak) and malbec we were doing the usual tourist things: visiting museums and churches, strolling along leaf-strewn parkways, taking overnight bus trips, etc. With the end of the year approaching we got to talking about resolutions, something we had both done to some extent in the past but had never really taken seriously or committed to fulfilling.
Resolutions seemed to be too big of a task – there are so many areas of life that could use some work. It was hard for us to pin down the most important changes we should make. The endless array of choices led our conversation to the same conclusion as our past resolutions had: nowhere. The next day we took a different angle and started with looking at different aspects of life: physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, etc. Starting this way naturally led to a resolution or two for each category. Not all of the goals, or categories, were life-changing but they were significant to us and a nice way to easily target and think about specific areas we would like to address.
Below is a sample life of categories and suggestions I thought might be of interest to others. I hope that that premise may be of use to you, and perhaps you’ll enjoy the method as much as we have. (2013 will be our 6th year using this format.)
- Start a daily habit (run a mile, do 20 pushups), complete an athletic event (marathon, 5k), set a weight-loss goal, try a new fruit or vegetable each month
- Attend organized services more regularly, commit to time each day for meditation, select a few books on philosophy or ethics that you’ll read this year
- Try a new restaurant each month, write down a list of neighborhoods to explore, volunteer or sign-up for a club or organization, see a play or music show each month
- Write down three places you’d like to go and commit to making it to one this year, pick a holiday weekend and plan a trip for it
- Write a letter to someone each week, reconnect with an old friend or family member, bake some cookies for your neighbors, schedule a weekly date night with your spouse
- Read a book each month, subscribe to a new magazine or newspaper, try a new recipe once a week, take a course in something you’re interested in
- Set a savings goal, pay off an existing debt, evaluate retirement savings and adjust, select a charity you’d like to support and donate or volunteer
To help us stick to our goals we write them on a sheet and put them up in the wall in our dining room. This year we hoped to pay down half of our student debts, which led to some awkward discussions when guests were over, but greatly helped to keep us focused throughout the year on meeting our target.
However you do your resolutions (or if you don’t do them at all) have a great time on New Year’s Eve and best wishes for 2013!