Happy New Year

imageHere we are at the start of another year, a time for review, regrets, predictions and resolutions. Well, maybe review. I don’t let the seeds of regret germinate. I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t make resolutions. The resolutions I used to make were always reactions, things like: “I’m going to lose 20 pounds” (because I weighed too much), “I’m going to get a better job” (because I hated my job), “I’m going to start exercising” (because I thought I was going to die if I didn’t exercise) or some resolution associated with eating, drinking or not eating or drinking because I was eating, drinking or not eating and drinking too much or incorrectly.

I’m done with those.

I’m not criticizing people who are making resolutions. Good luck with that, but if you’re building 2015 resolutions on the foundation of 2014 regrets, I would urge you to go a little easier on yourself. Take some time to think about the good things you did in 2014. For example:

Did you teach someone something? I’m putting that first because that’s one of the most important things that you can do. Sharing what you know with others is the way we improve as a species. Then, flip that over and ask: did you learn something new? I once knew a man who refused to attend some free classes that I told him about. When I asked him why he didn’t want to go, he said: “I’m 55 and I’m done learning” – how sad. We should never be done learning.

Did you make someone happy? That’s just about the best thing you can do for someone. You might think that loving someone would be the best thing, but we’re careful and cautious about loving people. We don’t need to be careful about making people happy.

Did you help someone in need? It didn’t have to be a big thing. It didn’t have to involve money or a response to some tear-jerking TV commercial, direct-mail campaign, telemarketer or in-person solicitor. Maybe you took someone’s trash can out to the curb one rainy day or maybe you brought the empty can back into their yard. Maybe you let someone merge in front of you on the highway or go ahead of you at a 4-way stop sign. Nobody writes about those things, well, I did once. I have done some of these things, and people have told me that they appreciated my doing them. I’ve had others do things like this for me, and it really did make me feel good.

Did you exercise? Note that I didn’t ask if you ran a marathon, scaled 40 flights of stairs or ended the year being able to deadlift some multiple of your body weight. Did you skip the elevator and take the stairs at work? Did you walk somewhere you could have driven? Did you play with your dog or a neighbor’s dog? Did you shovel a small amount of snow instead of firing up the blower? If you did things like this, you probably felt better and you helped yourself be heathier.

Were you kind to the planet? Again, I’m not talking about big newsworthy deeds here. You didn’t have to fly to the Gulf and wash an oily bird in Dawn. Did you recycle when you could (cuz some people don’t). Did you carry some trash around with you that you wanted to toss on the ground? Did you pick – up – after – your – dog? Did you walk somewhere you could have driven? You can give yourself double points for that one (you know, exercise).

Did you support a local business? We are lucky enough to have a local hardware store that has managed to survive in the five mile shadow of Home Depot and Lowes. Their prices may be a little higher but I still shop there whenever I can. I am in and out faster, I drive less (good for Earth, woo hoo, double points) and they pay taxes, support our schools and sports teams and they’re nice people. If you decided that something, hardware, paint, alcohol, food – anything isn’t always about price, you did a good thing. Keep it up in 2015.

These are just some simple examples of things that really do matter. They might matter to you, they might matter to others, and they add up. If you have a bunch of little things like this in your 2014 box-of-things, be sure to give yourself credit. If you’re looking for an easy way to have a “better” 2015, well there you go.

Happy New Year!

52 thoughts on “Happy New Year

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  1. Dan, great post. One of my sayings is: “If you have learned something new today; teach it to someone new tomorrow.” I do believe all my resolutions in the past have been reactionary as well. Maybe, it is time for a change. Thanks.

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  2. Thank you, Dan, for your ever gentle reminder of ways we improved ourselves in 2014/can improve ourselves in 2015. These are small things, as you say, but they do make a big difference, as in pay it forward. Simple kindness can change so much, even if it is just someone’s outlook. I appreciate you and enjoy your posts. Thank you for your friendship.


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  3. That’s a great list, Dan thanks for posting. The only thing I’d add is to remember to be kind to yourself too in 2015. I spend so much of my time thinking “I should do this” or “I must do that” and it’s easy to forget it’s OK to do something nice for yourself too, even if it’s only lazing for twenty minutes in a hot bath or buying yourself a bunch of flowers to brighten up the house. But anyway, I hope you have a great year in 2015!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great post to begin the ‘New Year,’ Dan! I loved reading all of your advice. Little things that mean so very much to others as well as ourselves. How true they all are!! Getting off my chair to hop on the treadmill now! Happy New Year!! :)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t think I’ll ever be done learning. I doubt the 55 yr. old will be either. :) I did make two resolutions, one about dropping several pounds, and cleaning out my garage. Both need to be done before they get anymore out of hand. :)

    Loved the post! Happy New Year to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I forgot to say I love the macaroni shot! There’s nothing like those kind of buildings to trigger my memories and my imagination. Something timeless in their history – a different era for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter and i visited the store while in Pittsburgh. It’s like three old stores opened up and merged. Different floor surfaces, walls and all. So much good looking food. My wife orders some favorites from them. They ship stuff packed in dry ice. Yum.


  7. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful perspective. Although I don’t make resolutions, I did set a simple goal for 2015 – to be the best person I can be. I’ve spent so much time living different roles and trying to be the best wife, mother, daughter, friend etc. that I’ve lost sight of what it looks like to be the best I can be, just for me. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great goal Cindy. We do get caught up in our roles. someone else mentioned that I forgot to include “be kind to yourself” in my list. Thanks for dropping by and adding your thoughts.Happy New year.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I really enjoy your perspective here. I’ve never been one to make resolutions for the new year. I always figure if you wanna change something, just change it when you decide you want to, not when it’s popular to do so. And yes, I have done all those things in 2014, but I could always stand to do more and better :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I agree. If you get a good idea in November, just do it. I heard a woman ay that she was upset because she only ran a half-marathon – her goal was to run a marathon. 13 miles is a long way to run. Give yourself some credit girl.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Learning something new, doing something that scares us, offering more random acts of kindness are wonderful things to consider for the New Year. Oh and also getting a colorful trashcan that does more than its regular job. Enjoy 2015, everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dan, always love reading your posts! This one’s a good start for 2015! Yup, I’m starting off with a bang, checking off what i did accomplish in 2014, and restoring some half-done goals for 2015. There’s no real new beginning and erasing the past…history follows. Love your photo gallery!!! Christine


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