Ryan Trares: Improving the resolution

Anthony made a bold proclamation just hours after waking up on New Year’s Day.

We were lazing our way through the morning when I asked him what his New Year’s resolutions were — what goals did he have, or what did he want to accomplish in the coming year? Not that I expected him to have a list of items to work on over the next 12 months, but I was curious what his thoughts were on a fresh year.

He glowered at me, then barked, “New year, same me!”

I get his sentiment. Set resolutions aren’t really something I do on Jan. 1 either. If there’s a lifestyle change to be made, or a goal I want to overcome, I can do that on Jan. 1 or April 18 or Nov. 29.

Still, when the calendar flips from December to January, and an unblemished year starts out, the symmetry works in terms of examining my hopes for the next 12 months.

Some of my resolutions are on auto-renewal — eat more vegetables, get better sleep, spend less time on my phone. Every January, I say the same things. Sometimes I do better on them, sometimes I do worse. Regardless, those are ones to continually work on.

But as 2023 gains steam, I have more specific thoughts on what I want to get done. Following a Christmas where I received a stack of enticing books from family and friends, my goal is to make it through all of them before March ends.

“The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson is foremost on the list, a book gifted to me by my father about the Great Migration of Black individuals across the country throughout the 20th century. I was aware, in an abstract way, of the migration, but this book promises to shed a devastating light on how that movement has impacted our country.

When I’m in need of decompressing from such a dense subject, I’ll turn to a book my brother gave me: “Corporate Rock Sucks,” by Jim Ruland, a history of the renegade record label SST Records that put out records by some of my favorite bands: Dinosaur Jr., Hüsker Dü, Screaming Trees, Sonic Youth.

For those atmospheric winter nights, I just started reading the creepy novel “The Elementals” by Michael McDowell.

My goal is to spend at least 30 minutes each day with my phone set aside, the TV off and nothing to distract me as I read. Here’s to hoping I make it through.

There are other goals I want to accomplish as well. Once a month, I want to complete a six-mile run, while at the same time, focusing more on built-in rest days from my running schedule. At work, I vow to be more observant to dig into issues and people who often get overlooked.

So I feel pretty good about my resolutions — they seem challenging, yet doable.

As for Anthony, despite his bold assertion, I can see him already making small adjustments in his day. He’s been more careful about putting his toys and art supplies away after playing. When I’m doing work around the house, he asks to help. We get his homework out of the way right when we get home, instead of waiting until later in the night.

Those changes may not last, just as I may fall back into old routines despite my goals. But for now, the sheen of the new year is still sparkling.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]