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Literature in a Hurry: Setting a theme for 2012

Kim Ukura

I'm not normally a person who makes New Year's resolutions. Well, check that: I'm not normally a person who makes New Year's resolutions and works proactively to complete them. I'm good at making To Do lists, but not so good at following through with them, especially when there are no consequences except to myself.

Last week I read an article that talked about setting a theme for the year. Now that I'm writing I can't remember where I read it or many of the details, but the basic idea was not to set resolutions, but instead to set a mantra for how to live life in the upcoming year.

I really like that idea. When I sat down and thought about all the things I considered making resolutions for things I wanted to do more of, the theme that emerged was "Be Active."

Like almost everybody, I often make resolutions to lose weight or go to the gym more. I can't think of a year in my life when I didn't think I could stand to lose 10 more pounds. But maybe a better plan for this year is to just try and incorporate more simple activity into my daily routine. Walk more. Do yoga. Clean the house more. Anything, really, that keeps me from sitting in front of a computer in my free time.

There's also mental activity. Since I stopped being a student, I've found that it's easy to slip into a rut where I don't spend time exercising my brain. I read a lot, but there are other ways to be mentally active. Play more board games. Talk about "the big questions" with other people. Read books that are challenging, not just enjoyable. I need to stretch myself to stay mentally active.

For me though, the most important part of "Be Active" is to engage more outside myself. Volunteer for something. Join a committee or civic group. Go to more local events. Given the fact that everyone in a small town wears more hats than Bartholomew Cubbins (Dr. Seuss!), it shouldn't be hard to find a way to get out and contribute more (once the weather improves... for now, I'm hibernating).

While I don't want to be presumptuous, I think "Be Active" could be a slogan for almost anyone. We all benefit from activity, whether it's physical, mental or social, and when we're feeling better ourselves it's easier to see ways to help others too.