I'm still not a fan of the idea of making New Year's resolutions.
Don't get me wrong. I like setting goals and working toward them. I think it's an important part of life to try new things, learn from them, and get that feeling of accomplishment.
I just don't like the whole practice of making a big deal just of doing something just because it's the start of a new year. It puts too much pressure on us, and, all too often, we find ourselves giving up after only a couple of weeks.
I've always liked the idea of simply saying that I will try to do something new at some point during the coming year.
Last year, I was glad to be able to have several new experiences. I tried new foods, went to a comic book convention and traveled to a few new destinations. I also grew a beard and kept it for several months. Normally I can't go for more than a couple of weeks.
It's good to try new things, so, while I don't like making resolutions, I suppose that will be mine for the year.
The other day, a friend posted a list of 12 goals she had for the year. The idea was to accomplish something new each month.
Much of them were things any of us can do, like making and sticking to a budget, keeping in touch with friends and family, not procrastinating.
Honestly, with the exception of running in a 5K, I found myself thinking about how much I could get out of doing many of the same things.
One in particular, I definitely need to work on, especially after some recent events.
I tend to worry about a great deal in my life. I guess I've always been a bit of a "worrier," and with increased pressures and responsibilities over the last few years, I feel as if there is even more for me to worry about.
But, I can't control everything, and I can't worry about everything. So, it's something to work on.
That's more of a life goal though, not just something for the year.
I received two new cookbooks for Christmas; one from my grandparents and the other from a coworker.
So, that goes into part of my goals for the year. I want to learn at least two new recipes.
I enjoy cooking, and if you ask my coworkers, I'm becoming pretty good at it. I tend to stick to casseroles, but I'm willing to broaden my culinary horizons.
Eventually, I'll need to have that skill. After all, I don't want to only have restaurant leftovers and frozen food to eat, do I?
While I won't be running a 5K anytime soon, I do need to watch my fitness and health. I think most of us can see a need there.
I need to get out more. There, I said it.
I do have to work a lot of long hours, but I also can't just go back and forth between home and work.
I need to find a way to get away from both environments and just do something for myself every once in a while, even if it's just to take a walk or go to see a movie.
Along with that, I need to stay away from the electronics every now and again. We are surrounded by electronic devices everywhere we turn. From computers to phones and many others, they have become a major part of our lives.
The other day, there was a segment on a national television news program with a challenge to go 10 days without electronics. I doubt it's something I could do, but perhaps just setting aside an hour or two every day to step away from those devices could do us all some good.
Read a book, go play ball with your kids, or take a lunch to a nearby park. Maybe set aside a night to play a board game as a family. Despite all the video games, they do still make board games and many of them are fun for two or more players.
I enjoy reading and I used to write away from work. It's not something I've been able to make time for in recent years, but I want that to change.
I've toyed with a few ideas for writing and I might think more about it in the coming months. I'm always looking for book suggestions, as, if the book appeals to me, I can usually get through one in a couple of days.
To me, none of these are truly resolutions. They're more life goals than anything; something I can work on little by little to make myself a better person.
That's really the whole point of it anyway, isn't it?
We want to make ourselves better people. We want to continue to learn, to explore, to gain new skills, meet new people and live our lives to the best of our ability.
It's not something we should only look at during the beginning of a year. It's something to continue to strive toward every day for the rest of our lives.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)