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Don't make 2007 another Missed Opportunity
January, 2007 - Issue #27
If you're planning to make any New Year's resolutions this month, you may not want to read this.

But for your sake, I hope you do.

Actually, my motives aren't completely selfless. I hope you read this for my sake, too. And not just for my sake. I'm writing for the sake of everyone who lives in the valley.

This could profoundly affect us all.

Like most Americans around this time of year, you've probably made at least a mental list of promises you sincerely expect to keep in 2007.

For some of you, those promises involve your health. You'll resolve to shed a few pounds. You'll vow to really need to dig out those old clothes you shoved to the back of your closet several New Year's ham dinners ago.

"RESOLUTIONS are not the problem. They are not the waste. The waste stems from the TRIVIAL NATURE of what we resolve."
Some of you will resolve to shake a habit. You'll smoke your "last" cigarette for the third time in three years. You'll stop biting your nails and start turning in your homework on time.

Many of you, I'm sure, will resolve to do better with money. You'll set financial goals, redraw your budgets and resolve to change careers by St. Patrick's Day.

Those are only a few potential resolutions. They are innumerable. But most of them, I fear, represent a colossal waste - not of time - but of opportunity.

I have nothing against New Year's resolutions. It's healthy to reevaluate your life. It's good to determine if you are indeed going where you thought you were going, or if you need to chart a new course.

Resolutions are not the problem. They are not the waste. The waste stems from the trivial nature of what we resolve.

We vow to lose 10 pounds, but is dropping two sizes what we are really after, or is it something else, something we think losing weight will provide?

The same goes for resolutions about money. We resolve to make more of it, but what is the benefit?

The materialistic bent in all of us can think of plenty of benefits, right? But the road of "desiring more" is a circle. It doesn't lead anywhere worthwhile, just back to the same old place of wanting the next thing.

No. We can do better with our resolutions.

Before you resolve to do anything in 2007, ask yourself what you really want. What you or I or anyone else is really after has very little to do with something we can make resolutions about - not unless we intend to get serious about our resolutions. Not unless we intend to start making them with a capital R.

If you really want the health and happiness that the weaker resolutions merely hint at, you've got to make deeper, more substantial changes. You've got to resolve to change your attitudes.

Looking to challenge yourself with a resolution this year? Try resolving to cultivate an attitude of patience. Try not to blame the person in front of you the next time you find yourself in the back of a long line. Try remembering that the carpool lane is not, in fact, the fast lane.

How about resolving to prefer the needs of others to your own? The next time you're tempted to shoehorn your SUV into a compact parking spot, ask yourself if two inches is really enough room for the guy on your right to squeeze into his car.

Are you protesting for world peace? Try this first. Resolve to forgive the next person who offends you instead of looking for the first opportunity to pay that person back.

Resolve not to be selfish. Pick up your own trash. Quit double parking just because you don't want to walk.

And do us all a favor. If you have children at home, resolve to teach them that they are not the center of the universe. In case you're wondering how, you do this by invoking the word "no."

The other day my wife and I were eating at a restaurant in Granary Square. The establishment was closing, but a group of teenagers convinced the employees to fill one more order for them.

"We just want some fries," one of the girls insisted.

And so the workers all stayed an extra 15 minutes to make a fresh batch of fries.

The teenagers took their food without a thank you, ate at an outside table, then left a table full of trash and smeared ketchup for the help to clean up.

I wanted to grab the trash and dump it over the departing teenagers' collective heads, but my wife talked me out of it.

I suppose it wouldn't have been very forgiving of me, but I wasn't feeling very forgiving at the time.

I've got a few resolutions to make.

What about you?
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