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Ron Jackson: Making plans for 2019? Don’t sweat it

December 30, 2018

It is not so clear if 2019 is coming in like a lion or a lamb, but it’s coming. Similar to a tax increase or two, there is nothing we can do to stop it.

There was a time when the turn of a new year was met with unbridled anticipation. The next year was going to be the best ever. It is not without anticipation I look forward to 2019. However, I have no foolish unattainable goals to achieve in the new year. As the current common phrase suggests, I am just going to do me.

By doing me, hopefully, there won’t be any drastic changes. I certainly will give thanks for each day I awake, respect each person with whom I interact and tackle each challenge to the best of my abilities. Those are not resolutions. I have given up on those long ago.

Oh, but there was a time when I did. I would make the grandest promises to myself. I was going to be smarter, healthier, wealthier. All the impetus I needed was for the calendar to turn one more day. Soon, that motivation would fade as the pages of the calendar would continue to turn. Suddenly, the promises became excuses; and before I knew it, it was time for a new resolve.

As I ponder past resolutions, there is only one I can remember keeping. It was nothing life changing. It did not make me a better person or make my world a better place. Out of all the annual lies I have told myself, the only one I have fulfilled was to eliminate sugar and cream from my coffee. Although it was in 1988, I can remember it like it was yesterday. It is right up there with recalling where I was when I heard President John F. Kennedy, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy had been shot and when I first heard the news Elvis Presley had died. Some moments just stick with you.

It was a simple moment. Standing at the coffee dispenser in a 7-11 store in North San Diego on New Year’s Eve, I just said, “This is my last cup with this in it. I am going black.” And that was it. And until now, I never really have considered what a meaningless accomplishment it has been. At least my resolution record is not 0-40. I have one win under my belt.

In no way is this an attempt to discourage anyone from setting life-changing goals for the new year. By all means, go ahead. Set some challenges for yourself — the key being yourself. I have only one suggestion: Do not broadcast your goals. Keep them a secret. Tell no one. Not even your best friend, real or digital.

Having broken a few promises, the hardest part was not being a failure. The most difficult result was being reminded of them by those who knew what they were and were just waiting for you to fail. Friends are known for reminding you of failure. It is as if they have unwritten permission to point out your disappointments — followed by an obligatory offering of a shoulder to cry on.

So, make that plan to eat a more healthy diet or maybe a healthier serving size. Tackle that education dream you have had for a while, just eliminate the idea of being an honor student. Pursue that new employment, but be willing to start at a spot below the top. That yearlong goal of getting more physically fit can happen in the new year. Go ahead and promise doing it for real this time. As a bit of caution, when you join the gym, don’t commit to the one-year pricing plan. That financial obligation is one resolution you will keep even if you don’t work that body the whole year. Owing money for a product or service you are not getting will be the only guaranteed sweating you will be doing all year.

The best resolution is the one that is kept confidential. I wish you all the very best you that you can be in 2019.

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