The failure rate of New Year's resolutions is pretty high, around 78 per cent overall according to a 2009 article in the New York Times . Their report also divided resolutions into big and small and found that people who set small, realistic goals had a slightly higher success rate of about 35 per cent. And, if people follow this advice - setting milestones, rewarding themselves along the way, telling friends about their goals, focusing on the benefits of success and keeping a diary of their progress - they have about a 50 per cent success rate.
So friends, here is my personal goal for 2011: 10,000 push-ups, 10,000 sit-ups, 10,000 pull-ups, 10,000 squats. I've created a spreadsheet in Word with two of these goals on each page, which I'm going to tack to the wall of my bedroom along with a pen to keep a daily tally. (I'll send the spreadsheets to you if this sounds like something you'd like to attempt, e-mail me at email@example.com.) Basically the goal is to do something physical every day to combat the general decline in fitness that has accompanied fatherhood.
I'm pretty sure this goal is realistic. Truthfully, I already started pursuing it back in September but had to stop just over a month later after falling down on a wet bridge during a trail run and breaking a rib. All healed up, I'm ready to start again.
I know what you're thinking, "that's an awesome New Year's resolution - you should make them for other people." So that's what I did.
For PM Stephen Harper - Keeping a minority government going is hard work, but your political opposition has been making things easy for you with their knee-jerk reactions to everything. Maybe in 2011 you should try to win over Canadians rather than focus on keeping your opponents down and divided. For clarity, here is a list of things that Canadians don't like: extending the Afghanistan mission to 2014, the G20, changes to the census, bigger deficits and debt, endless posturing over a new election, threats to the CBC, monopolies in telecommunications, draconian drug laws, people who equate what Julian Assange does at WikiLeaks with terrorism, more foreign ownership of Canadian companies and resources, senate patronage appointments and broken promises to make it an elected body (then using those senators to kill a climate bill passed in the House of Commons), Canada's tepid response to global warming, our national failure up to now to repatriate Omar Khadr, accusing the opposition of cozying up to separatists whenever talk of a left-wing coalition surfaces, politicizing science, attempts to shut down the gun registry, the seal hunt, federal money for pro sports arenas... I could go on.
The thing is Mr. Harper, Canadians on the whole are economically conservative but socially liberal. We like our social services, such as schools, health care and the Canada Pension Plan. Many of us do read newspapers. So when you read a poll suggesting that Canadians feel a particular way about something, it's probably a good idea to pay attention. Counting on your opposition to be disorganized and ineffective has worked so far, but eventually they'll get their acts together. So resolve to listen more. Listening and being willing to change your mind was your strongest asset at the start of your tenure, and it can be again.
Premier Gordon Campbell and his successor - The people in this province are feeling the squeeze: HST on items that were exempt from either the GST or PST in the past, rising transit costs, rising property taxes, rising utility costs (especially Hydro). What the people of B.C. want to know is where it all ends. What's the strategy? What is the limit we can be expected to pay? How is the public sector sharing our pain? Is there a tipping point where these costs can be expected to level out or drop? The B.C. government needs to resolve to acknowledge and address these costs collectively, as part of a pattern rather than a bunch of one-off circumstances. And they need to be honest with us about why costs are increasing, and pledge in good faith to try to limit those cost increases in the future - anything less only shows how out of touch our highly paid public sector is with the rank and file private sector workers in this province. The government should also resolve to raise the minimum wage and scrap the training wage immediately - seriously, it's embarrassing.
Mayor Ken Melamed and Council - There's a municipal election in November, which gives you about 10 months to win the people back. It shouldn't be too hard.
Pay parking was/is an unpopular disaster. People are confused why our municipal transit system - always held up as the best service with the highest ridership in the province - is in trouble. Nobody wants the library to close one day a week because municipal wages are increasing three per cent, or double the rate of inflation. The asphalt plant and gravel pit at Cheakamus Crossing truly do suck, and need to be dealt with. We need an outdoor skating rink to compete with Big White, Silver Star, Sun Peaks and other resorts. We need to support night skiing. We need buskers and more animation in the village. We need more indoor entertainment options for children and adults, and sane liquor laws that would allow for something like a pool hall/bowling alley/arcade where kids can play next to adults drinking beers - seriously, everyone else in the world can pull this off, so why can't we?
Happy New Year everybody! Now drop and give me 30.