A year of exploration


Bicycle/pedestrian paths, like the Mount Vernon Trail, symbolize wide-open possibilities for exploration.

It’s already been seven days since the calendar turned to 2016. That means it’s time to hold myself accountable again in the form of some new year’s resolutions.

A lot of people don’t bother with them, but I find them helpful as a step in the direction of self-improvement. Before I even get to mine, here are a couple of tidbits:

If you’re a resolution-maker, you’re among the estimated 40 percent or so of Americans who set out with good intentions. For whatever reason, only about 8 percent succeed in keeping them, according to University of Scranton research.

The most popular resolutions? Again, according to the Scranton researchers:

Lose Weight
Getting Organized
Spend Less, Save More
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
Staying Fit and Healthy
Learn Something Exciting
Quit Smoking
Help Others in Their Dreams
Fall in Love
Spend More Time with Family

I suppose No. 1 could easily make my list, but I’m going to keep that in the back of my mind in deference to a couple of others I’m giving higher priority.

This year, I want to focus on two things: 1. Getting out of town. 2. Trying new things.

Together they go well with an overall intention to just explore. Given my new retirement status, I don’t think getting out of town should pose much of an obstacle. It’s common for new retirees to want to travel, and certainly I want to do that too. But I’m thinking more modestly — just get out and about to places like Multnomah Falls, Silver Creek Falls, the Columbia River Gorge.

Trying new things is a complementary mindset. Already, I’ve joined Lori in a new Saturday morning activity — a cycling class at our local gym. I expect there will be plenty more things that fall in my lap or that I seek out.

I don’t know that these twin objectives have anything to do with self-improvement, other than to keep my mind open rather than closed.

As for last year, I settled on three things: Patience, portions and people.

Patience was about trying to accept that a lot of things are beyond my control, so why not just let it go.

Portions was about restraint, about being more watchful of how much I ate, even if — or, rather, especially if — it was a favorite food.

People was about making more connections in person instead of becoming overly reliant on digital communications.


Connecting with former co-worker Jackie Weatherspoon over coffee was a direct result of my vow to spend more “face time” with people in 2015.

Being honest with myself, I fell short too many times with the first and the second. I think I did pretty well with the third, though, and I plan to continue building on that “face time” with assorted friends, co-workers and new acquaintances.

A final pledge. Here’s my list of non-resolutions: no neck tattoo or neck beard; no man bun, ponytail or dreadlocks; no nose ring or earlobe plugs; no passing gas in elevators.

Want help setting your own 2016 goals? Here’s a post from a year ago on Forbes.com: “4 Simple Goal Setting Ideas for 2015”



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