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Posts Tagged ‘Beyond Resolutions’

Beyond Resolutions

In Pursuit of Happiness on January 1, 2010 at 7:13 pm

We tend to look at the changing of the calendar as an opportunity for a fresh start… a chance to “right the ship.” It usually starts with a resolution, rarely written, occasionally verbalized, and more often than not – just an internal thought. By mid-January, the holiday effect has worn off, and for most people, it’s back to the grind. Life starts to happen, and before you know it, the resolution ship starts to go off course again, adrift in a sea of busyness.

Overcrowded gyms start to thin out, allowing the regulars to get back to their routines. A cookie here, a piece of cake there, and the resolution diet commitments start to fall by the wayside. A couple of stressful days, and former smokers need a smoke to take the edge off. By February, most people return to their pre-holiday “normal.” Try as we might, our good intentions quickly fade into a distant memory. As the saying goes…“The road to hell is paved with good intentions!”

Many years ago, I gave up on the concept of resolutions because I realized that they never stuck. The past few years haven’t been great for most people, largely due to the economy and the new normal that we are all facing. Irrational exuberance has been replaced by fear of the unknown. Saving is now in vogue, spending is not. “Downsizing” is a word that has become all too familiar in today’s times. The wild party that raged in the past decade in the stock market and the real estate market has come to a grinding halt. Who knows when, or if, it will return in our lifetimes?

As I reflect back upon the last decade, I do so with mixed emotions. On the one hand, the greatest gifts that I have ever received arrived as I became a father. On the other hand, I lost my father, which makes many of my happy moments a little bittersweet. Our collective innocence was lost as a nation on 9/11, and it’s hard to see a time when it will ever return. Although we recovered from the initial financial shock caused by 9/11, we had no idea that the world economy, built like a house of cards, would come tumbling down in one fell swoop.

If I had this past decade to do over again, there are a lot of changes that I would make. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. Foresight is never as crystal clear as hindsight. And while often times painful, hindsight can be valuable if we use it to avoid repeating mistakes of the past. Personally speaking, this past decade has been eye-opening (to say the least). While I will not make resolutions that are tied into one specific goal, I am making some broad ones this year that I plan on carrying into the future. They are as follows…

THE PURSUIT OF HEALTH

I’ve been reminded lately just how fragile life can be. If this past decade has shown me anything, it is that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. And though there are no guarantees, I see the value in trying to be as healthy as possible, if not for me, than for my wife and kids.

Opinions vary on what it takes to “eat right,” but I’m under no delusion that I’ve been doing so. Does this mean that I’m starting a diet tomorrow? No, it doesn’t. But I am going to do what I can to improve my eating habits.

“Experts” vary on their opinion of how much exercise is needed by the average person. All I can say is that I’ve been below average lately by anyone’s standards. Does this mean that I’m going to hit the gym hard tomorrow and wake up not being able to get out of bed on Saturday? No, it doesn’t. But I am going to start doing more than I’ve been doing now, and work up to doing more in the future.

While my eating and exercise habits haven’t been ideal, I do take vitamins on a semi-regular basis, which is kind of absurd. Many people have to take several pills each day for various ailments and diseases. I’m fortunate not to be one of those. But there really is no reason for me not to take vitamins EVERY day. Going forward, I will not only be taking them, but taking ones that are right for my specific needs.

THE PURSUIT OF WEALTH

Yes, the economy sucks! The government will brag about the fact that unemployment is slowing down, but that really doesn’t help too many people. It just stops the bleeding. Does this mean that we’re all destined to struggle for years to come? I don’t think so!

I have certainly made my share of financial mistakes over the past couple of years. Would I love to go back in time and fix them? ABSOLUTELY! But since I don’t have a time machine, it’s not an option. If it were, I could get rich just selling tickets to get into the time machine so that others can go back and fix their mistakes.

People of great wealth have lost tremendous fortunes and come back stronger than ever, so there’s no reason that wealth has to wait for the next “boom” market. I have always been very entrepreneurial by nature, and projects that I’ve been working on are starting to come to fruition. If there was ever a time to fill voids in the market, it is now. I have found a few of those voids, and plan on making the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help others in the process.

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

I purposely spelled “happyness” this way, because it is the title of one of the most inspiring movies that I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s about hitting rock bottom and then thriving.

Many people have felt like they’ve hit rock bottom over the past couple of years. Most haven’t. Most wouldn’t trade places with others for a very good reason. Things usually aren’t as bad as they seem.

No one wants to struggle financially. Everyone wants to be comfortable. Parents always want to provide for their kids. But there is one thing that money can’t buy – TIME. Kansas summed it up best in the song “Dust In The Wind”…

“…nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky….it slips away…and all your money won’t another minute buy…”

My good friend, Trish Caprise, just lost her daughter 10 days before her 5th birthday. Yet she has found a way to smile through the tears. Her 3 yr old son has the same disease as her daughter. If anyone thinks that they’ve hit rock bottom, they should take a minute to think about what Trish is going through.

We can all pursue “happyness” in our own way. One of the ways that Trish is going to do so is to help others in the name of her daughter. She’s asked me to be a part of it as well, and I am honored to do so.

I truly believe the next decade will be better than the last. I’ll continue to make mistakes, but hopefully not as many. My resolution is to do the best that I can in the pursuit of health, wealth and “happyness,” and to help others do the same whenever possible.

My journey will be chronicled in writing so that others can follow it. This will make me more accountable, while hopefully inspiring others in the process.

I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

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