2012 New Year’s Resolutions: Becoming the Person I Want To Be

I turned 60 last year and my batting average for keeping new year’s resolutions is pretty close to .000 – but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying to become the person I think I should be.  This year I have more incentive than ever to change.  The question is whether or not I can find the discipline to live differently.  Few people ever choose to do the hard things in life.  Well that’s me, I always take the path of least resistance. 

As I’ve gotten older and my body has reacted strongly to different bad habits, I’ve learned that it’s better to listen to my body than suffer the consequences.  Pain and poor health has been my real incentive to change.

I have spinal stenosis and the amount of time I can stand or walk is dwindling.  I’m down to 15-30 minutes before my legs start going numb.  I weigh 237 pounds and need to loose 62 pounds to get to a normal BMI.  Losing weight won’t cure the spinal stenosis but it might reduce the strain of standing and walking.  Will this powerful negative incentive help me lose weight when I’ve always failed before? 

I do have some will power.  I became a vegetarian back in the 1960s.  I gave up caffeine because it helped with headaches, rosacea and just feeling better.  I’ve given up chocolate and fatty foods because it upsets my stomach.  I mostly drink water because of my bladder and kidneys protesting other drinks.  And I’ve given up eggs and junk food to help lower my cholesterol.    You’d think with all the foods I’ve given up for other health reasons I’d be losing weight, but I haven’t.  It’s uncanny – my body gets more efficient at processing food.

I also think about how I should be more charitable and giving.  I have a few problems but other people have a lot more problems and I feel guilty that I’m so lucky.  On all the nightly news programs they have been running stories about innovative charities.  I find that very inspiring.  I wondering if I can find a creative way to be more helpful.

Along with my need to lose body weight I wished I could lose clutter pounds.  This would be clutter that fills my house and office, and thought clutter crowding my brain, and activity clutter that wastes my time.  What I’d really love is the ability to focus on bigger projects and get them done rather than dissipating my life chasing after so many little things.

Finally, I want to be less verbose and more focused in my blogging.

Happy New Year

JWH 1/1/12

6 thoughts on “2012 New Year’s Resolutions: Becoming the Person I Want To Be”

  1. Go for it James. I am older than you and find that the less I take care of my body the more pain I have. The “Golden Years” are truly a myth!
    I enjoy reading your blog. You have a lot to offer those of us who are seniors because your honesty. Keep up the good work. THe more you can decllutter will help you feel lighter and perhaps even effect your weight loss efforts! JB

    1. Thanks Judith for the encouragement! I’m working hard to get rid of the clutter. Health seems to be a powerful motivator, and that might explain why when we were young and always felt good that we ignored good advice about staying health. Until poor health start kicking you hard you just don’t pay attention. But if I could travel back in time and tell my younger self that he wouldn’t take the advice, not even from his older self.

  2. Jim, I don’t know what to say about this. It’s admirable to want to improve yourself. But how beneficial is it if you’re always disappointed?

    Losing weight is something everyone wants to do, but very few people actually accomplish – at least, for long. It’s a good thing in theory, because it tends to improve a person’s health and self-image, both. But is it a good thing for the vast majority of people who keep failing at it?

    (As you say, our bodies fight back. We evolved when the danger was always too little food, not too much. So when we try to cut back, our bodies resist – and resist effectively, since that’s how our ancestors avoided starvation.)

    I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. And if your batting average is zero, after 60 years, I’m wondering if you should, either. Of course, as I say, wanting to improve yourself is admirable. I suppose I’ve just given up on that, and I can’t say that that is admirable. 🙂

    Maybe you should just pick one thing. Pick the one thing you most want to change – that you think you have a reasonable chance of accomplishing – and forget about the rest, at least for now. If you’re successful this year with that, then you can pick another thing next year. If you want.

    Because is your life that bad? There’s a lot of good in it, right? So why don’t you enjoy that, instead of worrying too much about what you’d like to change?

    I don’t know. It’s not my life, after all. And I could certainly stand to make some changes, myself! But from here, you appear to do a lot of things very well. None of us is ever going to be perfect, so you won’t ever be completely satisfied, I suppose. But you do a lot of things right, and you really should take some pleasure from that, don’t you think?

  3. “but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying to become the person I think I should be.”

    To me that is the big key, the willingness to keep on hoping, planning and trying to improve. I know that is the attitude I have about change, discipline and improvement, regardless of my success rate.

    My wife and I did some real hard heart-to-heart talking about our health last week and what we need to do in order to make changes now. We both have family history of issues that can be controllable if we act now. I know it is going to be difficult for us to make the necessary changes, but I still want to have that as the goal I am working towards.

    You have my sincere support in the changes you want to make.

  4. Jim, you might be interested in this article about breaking bad habits.

    Of course, it’s easier to recognize the problem than to figure out what to do about it. But if you’re thinking about retirement, that might be an opportunity to change your environment enough to disrupt habitual behavior.

    In any case, I thought it was interesting.

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