Change isn't easy, but it is certainly worth it. Over the Christmas break I did a personal inventory of my life and found I have some gaping holes that need to be filled. When I give advice to others about change in their lives, I usually tell them to start small so they won't fail in their resolutions, but I usually don't follow the same advice myself. The reason I don't is because I have found in my own life I need a big challenge in order to really change. When I gained a bunch of weight in my mid-twenties I decided to get healthy. A few years later I was 60 pounds lighter and running marathons and triathlons. When I found I wasn't praying enough, I took up a daily rosary and reading of Scripture. I have kept that habit for almost 10 years. So, what is next? My personal list is below. I guess you could call it a Christmas resolutions list, because the other kind of resolutions usually fade quickly for most people.
But, before we get to my personal list, I want to give suggestions for you as well.
100 Simple Ways To Make Life Better:
- Pray more (or start if you aren't)
- Say "I love you" to those you love
- We have too much stuff - go through your stuff and give some of it away.
- Visit your relatives
- Tip bigger
- Volunteer at a nursing home / soup kitchen / homeless shelter / animal shelter / Habitat for Humanity
- Smile more
- Say "hi" (or if in Texas "howdy") to strangers
- Be thankful for what you have, not envious of what you don't have
- Write someone a hand-written letter
- Volunteer for a task at work that nobody else wants
- Tithe 10%
- Forgive someone you hold a grudge against
- Do something on your "bucket list"
- Learn a new skill
- Say something encouraging to a loved-one that you should have said long ago
- Drive with kindness
- Volunteer with a youth group
- Save your money for something important and distant
- If you need help - get help
- Take a class in something you want to learn about
- Read the Bible every day
- Pray for your enemies
- Do the little things that matter
- Conquer a fear
- Exercise more
- Don't compromise your beliefs
- Communicate better - more in-person / telephone conversations with less texting / email
- Keep criticism to yourself
- Turn off your cell phone when you spend time with others
- Donate blood
- Offer to watch someone's children so they can go on dates
- Be eager to do something someone else wants to do, even if you don't
- Go on picnics
- Schedule quiet time
- Pay for the person behind you at a drive-through
- Buy extra items at the store and donate them
- Be patient with people who annoy you
- Dream big dreams
- Finish a project you started and put aside
- Work on what you are passionate about
- Be more hopeful and positive
- Stop making excuses
- Lose weight
- Send someone flowers
- Make a family member breakfast-in-bed
- Less TV/Facebook/Electronic stuff and more time on relationships
- Do something spontaneous every week
- Talk to your neighbors
- Share your talents / Teach someone something you are good at
- Be a better listener and talk less
- Say "I am sorry", "thank you", and "please" more
- Break a bad habit or addiction
- Donate books to the library
- Don't waste time with bad entertainment
- Mentor a troubled youth
- Host a block party
- Ask more open-ended questions of others
- Stop gossiping
- Go on a spiritual retreat
- Become an organ donor
- Don't argue electronically. If it is serious enough, then talk in-person
- Start a new hobby
- Play board games
- Get involved in a new organization at church
- Go for more walks with others
- Be persistent in doing the right thing
- Be yourself
- Do chores for an elderly person
- Go on a mission trip / service trip
- Eat healthier
- Keep a holy hour in Adoration
- Give sincere compliments
- Brag less
- Recycle more
- Start a garden
- Write your political representatives
- Teach a child to read / ride a bike / swim
- Don't one-up others in conversations
- Invite others for a big feast
- Plant a tree
- Have a garage sale and donate the proceeds
- Hold doors open for others
- Pick up random litter
- Learn CPR
- Eat family meals more
- Forgive a debt that someone owes to you
- Introduce yourself to those you sit near in church
- Give big hugs
- Call just to say "hi"
- Bake cookies and give them away to others
- Make care packages for the military
- Buy fair-trade items when possible
- Read good books
- When you are wrong - take the blame
- Go to Confession monthly
- Look for Christ in others
- Love God with all you are
If you decide to pick some of these and want to let others know about them, leave a comment below.
As for me, here is what I decided to do - all of these will be new or renewed habits:
- -Weekly Holy Hour
- -Bi-weekly Confession
Reasoning behind these resolutions - I keep a Holy Hour most weeks, but am inconsistent with it. Some weeks I will have 4 hours in Adoration, others none. As for Confession, a friend who is a priest recommended I go more frequently because of the nature of my profession. I agree.
- -6 days a week exercise for (at least) 40 minutes.
- -Average 1,800 calories per day intake
- -Lose 20 pounds by June 22
- -No caffeine in 2011
- -Take care of my voice
Reasoning behind these resolutions - I have had a number of health issues the last few years including a bad back and vocal chord issues. I need to make sure that my health is a priority. Because of my back, and some bad eating habits, I have put on about 20 lbs I need to take off. I have already dropped about 5 lbs. The caffeine has always had control over me, so I need to kick it for good.
- -Read (at least) 1 book/journal every 2 weeks
Reasoning behind these resolutions - This is the easiest resolution for me and I will probably do much more. But, it is merely a reminder that I need to keep reading, which can get pushed aside when I get busy with work and family.
- -Write draft of another book by July 2011
- -Get more speaking gigs for 2011 than I had in 2010
- -Reach out to at least two co-workers per week in a special way.
- -Move Catholic classes for credit (at St. Mary's Catholic Center) toward becoming a reality
Reasoning behind these resolutions - Some of these goals have been ongoing for a while, so now is the time to make them a reality.
- -Call my parents more often
- -Play with my kids more
- -Be less critical of others
- -Go on a monthly date with my wife
- -Go on 6 day trips with my family
Reasoning behind these resolutions - Doesn't this seem like public confession? I guess in some ways it is and that is okay with me, because now I will have others expecting more of me. These are all simple ways to work on bettering my relationships.
- -Donate blood (at least) 4 times in 2011
- -Donate more personal items to the poor (already filled up a big bag last week).
- -Reach out to those who seem lonely.
- -Smile more.
Reasoning behind these resolutions - Why not?