Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years Resolutions

I haven't made many New Years Resolutions, especially ones that I've actually remembered and kept, but I did make one a few years ago that I've stuck with. That was to have more home-cooked meals. Three years later, and we're still sticking to it. I think the key to that success was three-fold. First, there was a strongly motivated resolution: eating take-out all the time is neither very healthy nor very economical. Second, the resolution allowed incremental success. By stating the goal as "more home-cooked meals" rather than "no more take-out" meant that we could make progress and feel good about it, rather than setting an all-or-nothing target that we were unlikely to hit. Third, I had a specific plan (which included when to shop, when to cook, and how to make it actually happen). A goal without a plan is simply a fantasy.

I'm feeling ambitious this year, and am making several resolutions. We'll see how well I do. Three resolutions may be overreaching, but no goals at all means no hope of improvement. So here goes…
  1. Exercise more. I need more of it regularly. My job is a sedentary one, I'm not as young as I once was, and my blood pressure isn't what it ought to be. I think one of the best ways I can address that is more exercise. The key will be figuring out how to incorporate it into a daily regimen. One good plan: we live in a very hilly area with lots of public staircases and sloping walkways. The last few months I've been hitting the stairs for a bit in the mornings. I just need to be resolute about that.

  2. Entertain more. This is actually a continuation of a mildly successful resolution from last year. As my husband and I have become more of an "old married couple", we don't go out like we used to, and as a result, there are friends we don't see as often as we used to. But we also recognize it's hard to find the time and energy to throw parties often. The successful strategy we hit on last year is to have one or two friends over for dinner during the week. As long as I'm cooking for two (and I often cook for leftovers anyway), I realized it's not that big a deal to cook for one or two more. Four seems to be a magic number beyond which the production of dinner has to be done differently. But three or four is also a great number for really spending some "quality time" with friends, rather than bits of divided time with a lot of people in a bigger group. We did this on several occasions last year, and it worked out great. This year, I'd like to do it just a bit more often.

  3. Floss. As my dentist has persistently chided me, I don't floss enough. I'm very sporadic about it. A recent crown and related toothaches have reminded me I need to be more mindful of that for my dental health sake. I've long known that. But recently I've learned that flossing is one of the most highly correlated factors to longevity, and that it bears a significant relationship to heart disease and stroke. Okay, now I'm extra motivated. Let's see if I can be resolute.
Happy New Year, and good luck with your resolutions for 2006!

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