Off the 8’s: A New Year’s resolution that doesn’t involve sweating

A picture from my last visit to New York City to see my friends, Mary Pat (center) and Ellen (right). (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WASHINGTON – It doesn’t take much to get motivated. But it does take a lot to stay that way.

And at this time every year, when reflection seems only natural, setting an intention to be a better version of ourselves does, too.

I don’t like the idea. I never have.

The concept of setting a goal just because everyone else is doing the same never appealed to me. Especially because most resolutions usually have to do with “that thing” we’ve wanted to change about ourselves for longer than we’d care to admit.

But since the date is changing, why not remind ourselves to get in shape, quit smoking, or disconnect from technology when we’re with those we love?

Live in the moment. Focus on the positive. Do something creative. Take time for yourself.

It may sound like I’m listing off sayings from those signs you see in home-decor stores. They ring true this time of year, but somehow they feel disingenuous.

Normally, I avoid New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I quietly decide for myself that I’ll make a conscious effort to be a better person throughout the year, so when the end of December rolls back around, I’ll feel okay with my intention. Normally that works just fine.

But, similar to many of us, I have one glaring weakness staring me in the face when I start to reflect on how I can do better. This one thing hasn’t improved with my approach to resolutions in years past. So here we go, 2014. I have a resolution: To stay in good touch with the people who matter most to me.

Facebook doesn’t count. Neither do intermittent texts. At least not in my case.

You see, we used to have this feature people used on cellphones called a phone. We used it not just to check our credit-card balances or make dinner reservations, but to call our college roommate, our old co-worker or our cousin.

There are so many ways to connect without actually talking that it seems like we’re all in touch … when really, we’re not.

I’m resolving to make the effort to stay connected with my close friends and family members for a selfish reason – they make me better. I am happier when I talk to them.

When we reminisce or share moments from our daily lives, it lights up the day. And that’s what I miss the most – the shared moments.

You can’t really get the full effect by sharing a photo or sending a “thinking of you” text, though those are nice. This year, phone calls, long e-mails and visits are the way to go.

Now, one of my best friends lives in Minnesota. So that’ll be tough. But what’s tougher is, almost all of my close friends know I’m bad at keeping in touch. So who knows what they’ll think when I start calling?

This only works if they answer.

But my goal is to get beyond the mutual feeling when the phone rings that we have to have an hour-long call. I want be on a check-in basis. That way, they can answer when they’re in the store, or on the train and know it’ll be a short bright spot in their day.

We’ll save the long talks for when we’re in person, likely over a glass of wine.

So yes, 2014: I, too, am making a resolution. One I hope will make my life better by making my favorite people a bigger part of it.

Editor’s Note: Off the 8’s is a WTOP Living feature, in which staff inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center share stories from their lives when they’re off the clock.

Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.


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