Column by Robert Valentine, Senior lecturer of advertising
It is a new day in a new world. The slate is clean (if you don’t look too closely), and we can remake ourselves into the people we really want to be.
The start of this promising makeover is the commitment to make a change. Often, at this time of year, we hear people discussing their “New Year’s Resolutions.” The fact is that you can make a life-changing resolution at any point on the calendar. The only difference between January 1 and June 23 is the fact that the calendar is still pretty clean in January. By June, we may have fallen into old bad habits.
Even in mid-January, as we resume classes without yet having missed one (we hope), the record is clean enough to encourage a hopeful change. Go ahead: put your greatest aspiration into words, write the words on your bathroom mirror, say them out loud every day and become a different person.
There is still time.
In fact, there is always still time – until the day before the funeral. Why not now?
When I asked some friends for suggestion of resolutions, I got two that were pretty funny. They are also fictitious, I am sure, but they represent the kinds of friends I have. Here they are:
“I resolve to speak my mind without fear of the consequences.” – Donald Trump
“This year, more hand-written notes; emails are so impersonal.” – Hillary Clinton
Murray State’s Retiree-in-residence, Bob McGaughey, offered this life-altering goal:
“On Jan. 1, I resolved to lose 10 pounds. I only have 14 to go.”
Murray State President Bob Davies said:
“I resolve to increase the number of times I say, ‘Go Racers!’”
That’s going to be a tough one to keep without replacing the words, “Good Morning, Cindy,” with “Go Racers!”
My neighbor, Elmer, made an interesting resolution for a man of his age:
“Me? I’m going to be more decisive in 2016. Maybe, ‘more assertive,’ you know? Well, maybe not ‘assertive,’ but more definite. Well, ‘definite’ isn’t the word; maybe more sort-of, uh, clear-ish about what I kind of want to, you know, maybe say or kind of intend. You know?”
In the midst of all, we got a message from an Murray State alum named Greg Teffertiller. (As uncommon as it may be, it is not a made-up name.) Greg was here in the last century, to be sure, but he has made a nice career for himself in the tough marketing industry. Does your class schedule present a challenge to you? Well, Greg’s business poses that challenge, multiplied by a factor of four and presents it to him every day. “Getting better” has to be a way of life to survive as long as he has. He has children, too.
Greg reminded all his friends:
“Creating goals without changing behaviors is fruitless.”
He’s right: articulating what we want to change can be a hard, soul-searching and sobering task, but it is nothing compared to the challenge of actually following through.
So think about it. Put it into words. Write it in your planner and post it on Facebook. Then do the important part: make it part of everything you do, every day. Quit smoking, stop procrastinating, ask that girl for a date, finish writing that book – whatever your heart desires. You can do it.
Me? I’m going to have more fun, work a little less and grow my hair back.
Two out of three ain’t bad.