Life-altering New Years resolution


Resolutions are made to be broken. Let’s face it, the number of times we’ve turned the calendar to a new year are the same number of times we’ve started, and broken, a diet.

This year I have one simple resolution, one that not only is achievable, but one that will bring life-altering results.

In 2020 – and beyond – I resolve to use common sense.

I remember being given words of wisdom when I was young. At the time, they seemed to be the ramblings of older people. Now those words ring true.

My grandmother used to tell me it’s better to aim for the stars and hit the fence than it was to aim for the fence and hit the mud.

It’s taken me decades, but I finally understand what she meant.

It’s necessary to think big. We didn’t find a cure for polio, invent devices smaller than a Matchbox toy car that has enough memory for 10,000 songs or create robots that can vacuum your house while you’re at work by just doing what’s necessary. We’ve excelled when we overachieve.

It’s going to take more than social programs and spending to fix most of the challenges our community faces. We can’t solve problems unless we address what creates challenges like drug addiction, mental illness and domestic violence.

Trust me, the secret to losing weight isn’t the salad you eat today. It’s avoiding yesterday’s brownie. And the brownie before that.

Most of our answers can be found every night around the dining room table. If we can’t get our own houses in order, it’s not fair to expect government and nonprofit groups, no matter how noble their intentions, to provide the answer.

Families have more power to effect change than a room filled with social workers. Like a disease, it’s better to attack the cause than treat the symptoms.

Which brings me to another one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings. She often told me relationships aren’t 50-50. “If both sides aren’t giving 100%, then you’re only being half-hearted,” she’d say.

Being a parent isn’t a drive-by job. It’s something that requires fulltime effort, and that’s best done at the dining room table, not with a text message or a Facebook post.

Be involved in your child’s life. Ask questions. Pay attention. Be interested. Reward accomplishments and create boundaries. Learn the word “no” also means love.

Use common sense.

My mother used to say good children aren’t a matter of luck. It’s a matter of hard work. She reminded me often that a child requires 98% effort by the child and 2% by the adult and that 2% is the difference between success and failure.

My children are grown and gone. One has a child of his own. So, my focus is to get my own house in order.

For me, that will mean saying no to a second helping of mashed potatoes. That will be a more-realistic approach for me to finally getting fit. Common sense tells me I can’t lose until I stop gaining.

And while I don’t like resolutions, I do have new goals for the future – not just the new year.

I want to make a difference – not only to myself, but to my community. Whether it’s saying hello and making a stranger smile, helping someone get back on their feet so they can provide for themselves or making time to take a walk and be healthier, I realize I will make a more impactful difference if I use common sense and become a better person.

And that leaves me with another common sense saying from the character Sam Malone on “Cheers.” He often said there are no bad boys, just bad haircuts.

I wouldn’t know.


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