From high atop my very comfy swivel chair I sayeth unto thee follow these TEN RESOLUTIONS for the New Year, this and every year.
1: Learn and regularly employ the Serenity prayer.God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.
COMMENTARY: Anyone who has ever had any relationship with a 12-step program has heard the Serenity Prayer but its power and value extends way beyond 12-step program. In all things every single person on earth needs to understand that we must accept the things we simply cannot change while at the same time finding the courage to change those things that we must and we can and most of all the wisdom to know the difference.
Sometimes that can be a very difficult task but then no one ever said life was going to be easy. By learning and regularly repeating the Serenity Prayer we do significantly improve our odds of getting it right more often than not. Repeat this prayer at least once every day and watch as you begin making ever better life decisions and with that comes a better, happier and even longer life.
2: Always, every day without exception strive to achieve and maintain good health.
COMMENTARY: Life in ill health can quickly turn into pure hell and inevitable death. But getting and then staying healthy does require significant effort. The two major components are diet and exercise. And both can be challenging.
Since you were a kid you love to start each day with two golden waffles dripping with melted butter and covered with thick maple syrup — gobs of yummy sugar and fat, two of the three things you should work very hard to eliminate or at least dramatically reduce from your food intake but dang, it just tastes so good. Oh and that substantial belly overlap, well heck sometimes we just put on a little extra weight.
The sad fact is about 60% of our world is clinically obese meaning 20 or more pounds above ideal weight. With obesity very often comes diabetes, a disease that can, over time, kill you. But before death diabetes can also force you into a situation where an arm or leg will need to be amputated. Diabetes and obesity go hand in hand and neither are good. Diet is critical, not “A” diet but rather a comprehensive evaluation of everything you eat in terms of content and amount.
Focus on reducing as near as possible the intake of sugar, salt and fat and you will be heading in the right direction. Think green is good and red is a severe warning. Tomatoes OK, beef not so much.
Then there is the exercise component. Every gym in the world loves January because their membership spikes as millions of people join in pursuit of this common resolution to lose weight and get healthier in the New Year. Then by the end of the month of January they have become exhausted and stop going to the gym and the process goes on and on. Primarily this is because we tend to go from STOP to a full on RUN and that never works. You need to build into a healthy exercise routine so if you have become mainly sedentary make your resolution to walk one mile a day every day.
Once that becomes incidental and ordinary for you bump it up to two miles a day and then repeat until you reach a peak level for you. Also, along the way slowly add other exercises. Create your own list that may include push-ups, sit ups, toe touches, weight lifting, anything and everything as you gradually build your own personal routine.
Take your time but make it a steady daily activity. By gradually building your routine you dramatically reduce the risk of burn out and what you do accomplish is a greatly improved life style of regular exercise. A good diet along with good exercise on a regular basis yields much better health and longer happier life so go for it.
3: Live, love and expunge hate
COMMENTARY: Commit yourself to living your life to the fullest. Purge all fear for fear has no benefit and not to be confused with concern. Proper concern will guide you through or around those things and circumstances that may well cause you harm, but fear only freezes you and strips you of all hope of experiencing full joy.
Give and receive love always, totally and boldly. Open up and allow love to flow freely but do not confuse love with lust. And why hate, what does it accomplish for you? In the extreme there may well be good cause to hate. For example, someone kills a loved one and the natural response is to hate the murderer. But you must strive to let go of the hate for hate always does far more harm to the one hating than it will do to the one being hated. So why would you want to give such power to the object of your hate?
4: Never stop seeking knowledge in all things
COMMENTARY: Even if you earned a BA, BS, MBA, JD, MD and PhD you would still be a long way from knowing everything. So as we go through life we must always strive to keep our curiosity strong and our knowledge ever expanding. Doing so adds vibrancy and gives us ever increasing strength.
5: Be generous but remain parsimonious
COMMENTARTY: Money and material things are absolutely important but they should never be allowed to rule you. Rather it is everyone’s job to manage our material world wisely, Billionaires have gone bankrupt while it is possible to exist with a degree of comfort on a minimum wage. The key to it is to at every level maintain diligent management over your resources always.
6: Eat clean
COMMENTARTY: It is so simple that it is typically mostly ignored but the fundamental truth is that we indeed are what we eat. When we eat poorly such as foods that have been heavily processed or which contain excessive amounts of sugar or fat or salt our bodies will ultimately fail. Poor eating habits are at the core of the massive amount of obesity in our world and it is critical that we understand that obesity is far more than a fashion statement, it is a truly potentially deadly disease and very often brings about diabetes and diabetes can lead to amputations and even early death.
Think “green lean red dead.” That is by no means absolute or a complete picture, but it is a good start and helps get us thinking in the right direction. And YES I know this is strikingly similar to Resolution Number 2 but it is THAT IMPORTANT.
7: Always treat our world with kindness and consideration
COMMENTARY: If we allow the continuing desecration of our planet there shall come a time when we will no longer be able to live on our planet. The sea levels will keep rising, eventually destroying not only our immediate coast lines but even penetrating ever deeper into the interior of our nations, killing everything in its path. Continuously polluting our air with carbon and other deadly emissions will steadily weaken humanity and increase the spread of life-ending disease. It is undeniable that if we do not take good care of our planet earth then planet earth will eventually become unable to take good care of us.
8: Never ever assume anything.
COMMENTARY: The very simple truth of the matter is that when you “assume” you make an assout of u and me. Sure, you truly believe that something is a certain way or will in fact happen and perhaps did indeed happen but do you actually KNOW any of this? If not and you assume, you run a very real risk of getting what should have been a simple matter utterly convoluted with potentially disastrous results.
Just one very simple example of how this can play out is should you be walking and approaching an intersection when you see a car heading towards that intersection but you see that he has a stop sign so you understandably but foolishly think that he is going to stop, well you assume he will stop anyhow.
Actually you make several assumptions; you assume the driver will see the stop sign, you further assume that he will in fact stop and you most likely also assume that he has at least some concern for your well-being. So you step off the curb and get fatally slammed by the car because the driver was texting and never saw you or the stop sign.
All of your assumptions proved to be incorrect and you paid a heavy price. There are limitless other ways in which assuming can be highly destructive and even fatal, so whenever the temptation to assume arises it is critical that you squash that temptation before an assumption squashes you. Whenever confronted with an uncertainty it is perfectly okay to accept that often you simply don’t know rather than assume a particular action or outcome.
9: Reduce debt
COMMENTARY: Debt is to some extent unavoidable. Most people will never be able to purchase a home without a mortgage and while it is possible to purchase an automobile without a loan it is difficult and so that too gives rise to further debt. But allowing that ultra-high interest credit card debt to just keep on growing is a very bad idea.
If you only make minimum payments on your credit card debt it can take several years to payoff that debt. That said using a credit card can have several advantages including the ability to avoid most if not all loss through theft and or fraud.
Another option with those same benefits is a charge card rather than a credit card? A charge card allows you to make purchases using the card but requires payment in full each month and therefore no chance of ever escalating debt.
Debt can be a very heavy burden and that burden gets in the way of full joy and happiness in your life so focus on eliminating as much debt as you can as fast as you can.
10: Know when to quit
COMMENTARY, It happens to everyone at least once in a while. You are in a casino in Las Vegas playing the slot machines and you are winning. Those coins just keep piling up and you are thrilled. So you keep putting them back in and then you look down and the tray is empty. Oops! We call this human nature also known as greed and it can affect everyone in a wide range of ways.
Even in food it can happen. Yes, indeed that pizza tastes awesome so you just keep on eating and then you get sick from the over indulgence. Then all of the pizza leaves you and you are no longer happy. The lesson to be learned is to know when to quit and that requires understanding the need to maintain balance in all things.
Photos by Ron Irwin, unless otherwise noted.
Top photo: Man sitting atop mountain contemplating
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.