For Release January 2, 2002

New Yearís Resolutions

by Chuck Otte, Geary County Extension Agent

I used to despise New Yearís resolutions. I thought that they were foolish, useless, and something more appropriately done on April 1. Iíve changed my thinking. I now feel that it is very good to spend a little time reflecting on oneís self at the end of the year and then decide what changes you could make to make yourself a better person for the next year and beyond.

New Yearís resolutions need to be realistic and obtainable. If you start out the new year resolving to stop smoking, lose 100 pounds and develop a personality, itís doubtful that youíll make even one of those work. I feel that resolutions should be less of a physical change nature (although those are good too), and more of a philosophical nature. Resolutions that challenge you to change how you look at things or how you react to situations are going to be more difficult in the long run, than losing 100 pounds, but in the end you stand to gain so much more.

I canít make resolutions for you to adopt. Resolutions have to be personal and you have to be willing to really think and act upon them! I can tell you what my resolutions are and encourage you to adopt them, but donít do so in haste. These resolutions may ask more of you than you are willing to give!

I resolve to try to understand how the other half lives. Whoís the other half? Anyone that is different from myself. It is sometimes very easy to condemn someoneís words or actions. But if you donít understand their motivations, or their background, then you donít have a right to condemn or disagree with them. What they are saying or doing may be very appropriate and understandable, GIVEN how they were raised and how they live. It is very easy to not like anything different. The older I get the more this is true. So the challenge is to judge less and listen more.

After the events of 2001 it has become very easy to condemn or dislike the Muslim faith. But what do you really know about their beliefs? What do you know about "their" way of life? Just because itís different doesnít mean itís wrong. Thatís a quick and easy trap to fall into. Different is just different, itís not necessarily right or wrong. Why do we want to judge, evaluate, rank everything in our lives? Canít we try to understand a little more about the world around us?

I resolve to be a better friend to the earth. Have you ever thought about your personal footprint? Your personal footprint isnít that mark which you leave in fresh snow, dusty ground or new mud. Your personal footprint is the impact that you make in the natural world and people that you are around on a daily basis. This one is tricky folks. You have to stop thinking like you and think like a tree, like the air, like the water, and like the earth. You have to think like your neighbor and everyone else who you have contact with everyday. We too often do things on instinct without so much as a thought about the multiplier effect. Stop thinking like yourself!

Finally, I resolve to treat the people Iím around every day as I would treat a total stranger. I find myself treating a total stranger, whom I may never see again, with more consideration than I treat family and coworkers. Familiarity, all too often, breeds rudeness and Iím terribly guilty of it. Iím still going to be short and snappy, sometimes, but Iím going to try to catch myself before it happens! Well, there you have it, three little resolutions. Resolutions that could make a drastic change on myself and hopefully the world around me!


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