10 NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS THAT I WILL LIKELY BREAK

               Much like the rest of the world, ever since I was 14, I've been making New Year resolutions on January 2nd and breaking them on January 7th.  This year I determined I would do away with the tradition.  I decided I would not make any resolutions at all - something about the mocking, self-pitying look my older, wiser inner diva gives me when the undoing of the resolution is complete. And yet with the holidays over and the beginning of January, the familiar feeling that 2012 has released us into another year full of possibilities began to creep up on me this week.  So, yet again, I take pen to paper and write out all the things I would like to accomplish this year.1. I WILL EXERCISE EVERY DAY: Of course I'm not alone in this - with 66% of adult Americans considered overweight or obese by recent studies, it's not surprising that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year resolutions.  That is, to say...until February.

2. I WILL SPEND MORE TIME WITH MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS: Again, this is a very popular resolution.  Recent polls conducted by general Nutrition Centres, Quicken and others show that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.  Again, easier said than done.  January is the month you're fired up with good spirit (no doubt aided by the good booze you've imbibed over all those holiday parties) and come February, you realize that you don't keep up with cousin Meena as much as you should cuz she's just so boring!

3. I WILL ENJOY LIFE MORE: Sanjay Gupta M.D. states that one of his resolutions this year is to act more like a kid (ref. Redbook Jan. 2013).  Given the hectic lifestyles of millions of Americans, it's no wonder that enjoying life more has become such a popular resolution.  However, come January 8th and the reminder that Uncle Sam will still come collecting...and its back to the grind again.

4. I WILL SPEND LESS TIME IN CYBERSPACE: I was in Bangkok with my family over the holidays and it struck me, once again, how difficult it is to find wifi once you leave the Western hemisphere.  And when you don't have it, by golly how much you miss it!  Beg, borrow, plead or pay, every place we stopped at, the question most asked by all 20 in our party was, "How do I get wifi?" A good friend of mine texted me Happy New Year greetings and exhorted me to come back safe and sound.  As an afterthought she added, "Remember, safety is our second priority.  The first is the Internet".  Yeah, I believe that!

5. I WILL SLEEP MORE: More and more studies find that the less sleep people get, the worse their problems with mood get too.  I know that personally, more often than not, I can trace back the disagreements or spats I've had with my spouse, siblings or friends to a crappy mood brought on by...you've guessed it! Lack of sleep. This year I've resolved to hit the bed at 11 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m. - the solid eight hours that I've realized over the years, is my personal required sleep fund.

6. I WILL EAT MORE CHOCOLATE, NOT GIVE UP CHOCOLATE: I've been eating dark chocolate much before it became fashionable to eat it.  The only problem - the 441 calories in the little bit of heaven that every raspberry chocolate Godiva square delivers.  Now I'm in a different bit of heaven after discovering the Meiji meltyblend of chocolates at Ranch 99 stores.  At 250 calories for 10 pieces, I can eat the whole box - and usually do!

7. I WILL APPLY SUNSCREEN: As an olive-skinned woman, I don't need to worry about skin cancer as much as my fairer counterparts, but I've fallen prey to pigmentation disorders because I failed to apply SPF 30+ sunscreen on more than one tropical vacay.  From this year onwards, that's gonna stop.  Cut to Downton Abbey, Episode 1, Season 3: Shirley Maclaine who plays the American mother of Lady Cora Grantham on meeting the dowager countess (played by Maggie Smith) remarks, " Oh dear... I'm afraid the war has made old women of us both."  The caustic dowager, never at a loss for words, retorts, "Oh, I wouldn't say that.  But then, I always keep out of the sun."

8. POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE: My first job in this country was as a sales rep. for an insurance company.  As such I had the whole Tony Robbins positive spiel brainwashed into my being.  PMA was the mantra of the day and I have to say it works. There's no one you spend more time with than yourself and your own head.  Repeating the phrase PMA to yourself 10 times a day works ...as does smiling.  There are enough studies to show that if you force yourself to smile, it may feel false at first, but something about turning the corners of your face up instead of down will actually make you feel better.

9. I WILL VISIT ALASKA BEFORE THE GLACIERS DISAPPEAR: 99% of Alaska's glaciers are retreating or thinning or both, a new book by the U.S. Geological Survey reports.  I've seen them once - admired their pristine glory and drank their pure water - and I want to behold them once before they all melt!

10. I WILL WRITE MORE - For me, personally, 2012 has been a year of new beginnings.  A novel, finally done, three edits later; and a blog that has attracted more than 2800 visitors...I'm thankful for what this new enterprise has brought me and I look forward to the rest of this journey.

Okay, its officially January 8th, 7:31 p.m.  My inner diva is glowering at me over the top of her tortoise shell glasses - Resolution # 1 ate the dust today! Ah well, there's always January 2nd, 2014 to look forward to....

MY EXPERIENCES AT THE COCOA BEACH WRITERS' CONFERENCE

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