The dawn of a new year brings efforts for change, refocus and renewal. Typically, this comes in the form of New Year’s resolutions – and typically those end up being abandoned by mid February.
As Forbes reported, a University of Scranton study found that a mere 8 percent of people see their New Year’s resolutions through. Often, the magnitude of the change people seek and the timetable they shoot for sets them up for failure. So this year, rather than a make-or-break shot at the stars, try a simple checklist of smaller goals and tasks you hope to accomplish. It always feels great to cross something off a list.
Here are some considerations for your list – nothing monumental, but maybe some things that have been bouncing around in the back of your head for a little while that you have hoped to accomplish.
• Learn to cook something you order often at a favorite restaurant. You might not get it exactly right, but it’s worth a try to solve the riddle and be able to enjoy something you like at home. You also might be able to save a few bucks.
• Watch a classic film you have never seen. If you have yet to take in “Citizen Kane,” “Gone With The Wind,” “Rear Window” or “All the President’s Men,” make time to see what made these movies so influential.
• Watch a film that has been panned by critics. There are a lot of bad movies out there that are worth a look just to see how horrible they are and to wonder how something so dreadful made it into theaters. Almost any movie based on a “Saturday Night Live” character (with the exception of “Wayne’s World”) is a good place to start. Or go with any Tom Cruise film after “Top Gun.”
• Read a book, preferably non-fiction and absolutely something you have not read before. Too many people don’t make time for reading, which is an excellent way to expand your intellect and to improve your communication skills. With a non-fiction offering, you can explore history, gain perspective on real-life issues, provide yourself some professional development or enhance your understanding of science. First on my list is “Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change;” after that I’ll tackle “To Be The Man,” the autobiography of pro wrestler Ric Flair (hey, you can still have some fun).
• Perform a random act of kindness every month. Pay the bill for the car behind you in the drive-through line. Take some home-baked goods to a neighbor for no reason at all. Send a note of appreciation to your child’s teacher, youth sports coach or pastor – anything to give someone an unexpected smile.
• Support local artists. Attend a gallery show or theater performance. Check out a local band. Purchase a painting, photograph or sculpture. Attend music or theater performances at the Heckart Performing Arts Center, or make time to take in the incredible talent on display during the Scott Joplin Foundation International Ragtime Festival. With out art and artists, the world would be a pretty dismal place.
• And finally, engage in local, state and national politics. Know the important issues, work to understand them then challenge candidates to support what you believe is in the best interests of your community. All too often, leaders are elected by scant percentages of registered voters who bother to invest the small amount of time it takes to cast a ballot. The national candidates are avoiding the real issues that affect our day-to-day lives and instead are bloviating on scare tactics and name-calling. They won’t rise above such childishness until the electorate demands that they do. Locally, it is a rare occasion when residents keep up with what municipal governments are doing. People are quick to complain about how their tax dollars are being spent, but in the vast majority of cases the critics are not armed with nearly enough facts to form an educated opinion. If you want government to work in your best interests, know what those interests are then engage in the process. If your answer is that you don’t have time to understand the issues, then you also shouldn’t have time to gripe about the outcomes.
Bob Satnan is the communications director for Sedalia School District 200.