Eat healthy. Exercise more. Save money. Take a trip. That's what we all resolve to do each year, according to the U.S. government – although why the trusty folks in Washington feel compelled to compile New Year's Resolutions is beyond us.
Still, it did get us thinking about things we should resolve to do in 2012. Really. Honestly. Sincerely. We thought keeping it simple would increase the odds that we'll actually have some success with this. So here's our list of New Year's Resolutions We Think We Might Be Able to Swing:
• Meet a friend for lunch. Repeat at least 12 times. There are so many people that we want to catch up with, but between work, family and life, time just slips away. So we resolve to go to lunch with a different friend at least once a month for the entire year. That's 12 people to reconnect with – in person. It's a start.
• Learn one new skill. Anything counts, as long as it's something we didn't know how to do before. How to bake a great loaf of bread, knit a scarf, day trade on the stock market, edit photos in Photoshop. What's important is taking the time and adding something new to our repertoire of skills.
• Be prepared. In other words, always have a bottle of champagne in the fridge. You never know when good news might strike.
• Get the clutter under control. Okay, there is no way we will get the clutter completely under control. But we can make progress. For every new toy that comes into this house, one is going out. For every new item of clothing, one goes to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. We may make an exception for shoes. We are weak, and we don't care who knows it.
• Take a cue from Woody Guthrie. How much could an over-scheduled working mom have in common with a mid-20th century songwriter, radical, and general legend? More than we ever guessed. Guthrie's New Year's resolutions for the year 1942, when he was 30 years old, range from "change socks," and "change bed cloths often," to "make up your mind" "wake up and fight," and "keep hoping machine running." Wonder what he thought of that list when New Year's 1943 dawned.
• Drink more water. This is something we all know but few of us manage to do. It's easy to confuse the symptoms of dehydration with those of fatigue, and since we're so often fatigued —time to drink up.
• Use the library. Mark Hurst, of New York consultancy Good Experience, puts out a unique guide each year called "Uncle Mark's Gift Guide & Almanac," with all sorts of useful recommendations. We love his promotion of public libraries so much we're going to repeat it here: "As the economy is still limping along, I still recommend an easy way to get free books: go to the library. It's one of the best deals running. Seriously, they should change the slogan to 'like Amazon, but free.'" Hear, hear. Many libraries also offer ebooks, not to mention DVDs.
• Insulate the house. Every winter we talk about getting insulation for the exterior bedroom walls of the house, and every spring we forget about it. Meanwhile, the heating bill isn't getting any lower. We're not going to resolve to finish every home improvement project on the list, but this one just makes too much sense to let linger. You can probably get one — just one — done too.
• Ask for what we want. We could write a whole column about this, and soon, Kimberly will. But for now, let's just say: This works. Better than you'd think.
Thanks for helping make One Thing New a reality in 2011. Happy New Year! — KW and CG
image courtesy of flickr user dereksky