Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 4:18 PM on Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Let's resolve to be quieter, kinder, more careful in new year

Some say the art of making new year's resolutions dates back to ancient Babylonian times, when farmers resolved to return borrowed equipment. That's not a bad way to start the new year, particularly if you return things in better condition than you got them.

Articles on new year's resolutions often say the same thing: lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more and work harder. Rather than look at how we can improve as individuals, maybe we can look at what we can do better as people that will make our community stronger. Here are some ideas:

• Resolve to ask kindly and quietly for grants, political actions and other civic favors. Why should those who speak the loudest and angriest get rewarded? How about considering requests made politely and supported by facts?

• Speaking of facts, resolve to be more careful of them. Don't accept on face value rumors. Don't support an idea unless it stands on a well reasoned argument.

• Resolve to be careful. With icy and snowy roads, blizzards and other hazards, plan trips wisely, with plenty of time to get there. Don't speed, don't drive recklessly and be considerate of other drivers. Oh, and if taking even the shortest trip, at least have a good winter coat and boots. Driving farther? Take a sleeping bag, a snow shovel, food and water.

• Resolve to be thankful. We like the idea of John Kralik, author of "A Simple Act of Gratitude," who decided to write a thank-you note every day. Appreciate the store clerks, checkers, baristas, waiters and waitresses, plow drivers, postal carriers, nurses, cops and firefighters who do us favors big and small. Acknowledge a job well done with two simple words: "Thank you."

• Resolve to read more. We'd like you to read the Homer News, of course, and we thank you for doing so, but also read books, poetry and magazines.

• Resolve to lose weight — no, not body fat but other burdens. Pay off a little bit more on your credit card and mortgage. Shed the weight of unwanted and unneeded possessions and pass them on to those who might need them more. Shed anger and spread forgiveness.

• Resolve to relax. If your computer hangs up and runs slowly, take that as a sign to appreciate the moment. Get up. Stretch. Breathe. The world gives us these technological malfunctions not to frustrate us but to enlighten us.

• Resolve to care. A video, "Kindness Boomerang," by the organization Life Vest Inside, shows how small acts of kindness ripple through a community. Think about how small acts of consideration can brighten someone's day.

• Resolve to keep it simple. We like the idea of those who don't like long lists of resolutions and instead pick one word or phrase as that year's goal. Live. Love. Explore. Expand. Persevere. Fly. Come up with your own 2012 mantra.

Maybe we should take that advice and close this list. We hope that your year becomes one of the best ever. Forward — hmm, that works.

And Happy New Year.