I'll make this one quick.
I'm not big on New Year's resolutions anymore. I used to love them. I made lists of all the spiffy life-changes I'd be enacting over the next twelve months. I made big proclamations in front of drunk people. Frankly, I was pretty cocky.
I was also all talk.
Over the years, I've ratcheted down my goals. I've gone from Resolving Large ("Gonna skydive in 1994! Woo Hooooo!!"), to Resolving Moderate ("Gonna learn the guitar in 2000! Bring it on!!"), to Resolving Realistic ("Gonna wash the car in 2009! AW YEAAAA!!").
The problem isn't in the scope of the resolution. There's nothing wrong with thinking big. It's in the specifics you pledge, those pesky details you commit to, that come back to bite you on the ass in March. (March sucks in this way. It should be National Hypocrite's month. That's usually when I realize I've given up on whatever I swore to accomplish.)
Resolutions are fine. We shouldn't shy away from them just because we're afraid to look back in a year and be embarrassed that we didn't write that novel, face climb K2, or be the first person to patent that ingeniously simple little nasal strip device. (Someone beat you to it, dude. And that guy deserves every cent of his millions, as far as I'm concerned.)
So I don't make specific resolutions anymore. In fact, I only make one big one. Same one, every New Year's Eve:
Be better than last year. Just better. Better father, better husband, better teacher, better writer. Better pirate. Better man.
Some days I blow it. Most days, actually. An extraordinarily high number of the days. But every once in a while an opportunity presents itself, and I remember that being better can mean doing something very small. Being a hair more patient with the Mini-Pirate when she gets frustrated by math. Being a little more aware when Saucy comes home from work in the evening and eyes the kitchen with dread. Reading a student's work just a little more slowly and carefully, especially when they too want to Be Something Better.
So here's to becoming better at whoever you are this year. Now what do you say we grab 2010 by the neck and show it who's boss? You with me??? Then let me hear it: