It just doesn’t seem fair to start a New Year’s resolution in the cold dark winter. Going to the gym is hard enough. I’ve been going for three years and even I don’t want to go right now. It will be even colder in January.

It will also be packed. It isn’t fun to work out in a small place with a lot of people. In the beginning of the year the pool is full of new people. A lot of them drop out early, even though there is no refund of the sign-up fee. $100 is a lot to blow. How many of them quit because it is too crowded inside and too cold outside? When you are in your warm house, getting out to go to the gym is the last thing you want to do. Getting there, when it is full of people isn’t that fun either.

If you have a desire to make a change in your life, just do it. Don’t wait unto the New Year. Adopt one from another culture. There are some that have their New Year’s Day in the spring, and some in the fall. Pick one. Or make your own. Every day is a new day. You can have that fresh-faced, new chance, clean-slate feeling anytime.

Strip away all that doesn’t serve. In fact, strip away all that does serve you well, beside the more you do the same old thing, the less you’ll discover. When you keep doing the same thing over and over, even if it works for you, even if you think it is the best way to do things, it prevents you from discovering new options and new opportunities.

If you eat the same food at a restaurant, you’ll never find your new favorite. If you respond the same way to someone, you’ll never learn new ways of thinking. Challenge and change are great opportunities.

Make every moment new. Pretend as if each moment is your first.

Welcome to your new life.


Lifeguards have to know how to rescue you and not get drowned themselves. Not only do they have to be good swimmers, they have to watch out for the drowning person who is thrashing about.

Drowning people don’t do anything right to stop themselves drowning. They will hit the person who is trying to save them. They will grab at them, pulling them under the water. The more they thrash and grab, the worse things get.

Lifeguards are trained to approach the victim from behind to rescue them, and to look out for sudden movements. If drowning people relaxed they’d be a lot easier to rescue. In fact, if they relaxed in the first place they probably wouldn’t need to be rescued.

Try it the next time you are in a pool. Tense up, pretending you are anxious. Feel like you aren’t going to make it to the wall. You’ll start to sink. Relax and you’ll start to float. Let go, and you are fine.

How much of this is like everything in life? Just tensing up makes an already bad situation worse. Freak out and you’ll need to be rescued. Then, when someone comes to help, you fight them. The smart helper knows how to approach you so they too don’t get dragged down.

Drowning, finances, drugs, dependency- whatever. It is all the same.

People have to get certified to be lifeguards. There are manuals to study and a test to pass. Kids in high school can do this.

Too bad that helping people not drown in other ways requires more advanced training. Maybe if it could be simplified and destigmatized it would be easier for everyone. If we can help people before they are really going under we will be doing very well.

Anti-Christmas Guide 2

I used to think I was alone in thinking that Christmas was terrible. It felt like there was a conspiracy of silence. Don’t talk about it, and it won’t be so bad. Don’t admit that you aren’t having a great time. Christmas was the elephant in the room.

It was like the Emperor’s New Clothes, but instead of clothes it was Christmas. Nobody wanted to admit that what they were experiencing wasn’t matching up to what everybody else said they were experiencing.

People are just now starting to talk about how hard the Christmas season can be. It has grown from a beautiful time where God has show how much we are loved by coming down to be with us, into a huge monstrosity where we spend all our money and energy and are worn out. It has grown into the exact opposite of what it was supposed to be.

Here are three things that let me know that I’m not the only one who is getting mixed signals about this time of year.

Barenaked Ladies Christmas album – “Barenaked for the Holidays” – It has Hanukkah and Christmas music done their way, and some manic bits about snow and murder.

Denis Leary’s “Merry F#%$kin Christmas” – 2005 TV special. Think Donny and Marie Osmond variety show, but done by a bitter New Yorker.

Augusten Burroughs’ “You Better Not Cry” – book. It makes your Christmas look like “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It is a collection of tales of horrible Christmases he’s had over the years. I find it cathartic and redemptive.