Be Bold, Be Brave

Submitted into Contest #231 in response to: Write a story about hope.... view prompt


American Holiday Contemporary

It would be disrespectful to say it's my favorite holiday, but I enjoy and appreciate the significance of a New Year's Day celebration. It represents HOPE, a new opportunity, a start-over day and time for things that are important to us. When you share the day, and those leading up to 1/1, with family it gives you some valuable insight into what's going on with them.  When I was a boy, my family followed some rules about New Year's Resolutions, and I've maintained them throughout my life. We ‘hope’ our dreams come true, but good resolutions require planning. Here are the rules (in no particular order):

·        Start early, no later than the day after Christmas, thinking about all the things that you might like to change next year

·        You must make at least five resolutions

·        Set up a calendar, plan reminders to record your progress at least once a week

·        You must write them down—in specific detail. For example, "lose weight" is too vague. That phrase would be a good header for a two-page detailed action plan. You must include how much weight and HOW you intend to do it. Make time to find a weight loss program, free or low cost, online—change your course of action if necessary; set aside time daily, plan menus a week at a time, weigh daily, and record your progress.

·        One of your five will be, "Help a family member or a friend reach a resolution." Set up a date and time to help your loved one make their plans and include you along the way.

·        Reward yourself! Set periodic goals and plan to do something special as you meet those milestones.

Resolutions are just a piece of the New Year's launch. My true favorite holiday meal is our traditional New Year's Day dinner. Maybe there's some significance in other menu items for other holidays, but the feast we plan and serve on 1/1 is highly symbolic of our typical dreams and goals. The menu is simple, and designed to deliver the elements the dishes represent

·        Pork roast—since pigs "root" FORWARD

o  Corned beef is an acceptable substitute but I use that on St. Patrick's Day and stick with pork roast for New Year's.

·        Greens—representing "cash," perhaps more of A Deep South thing, but appropriate across our Nation;

·        Black-eyed peas, representing "coins", seasoned with ham, bacon, and boiled in the broth from the pork roast, served over rice

·        Sweet iced tea—served to the elders by the children while delivering best wishes for the new year; perhaps an Asian or South American tradition, borrowed from settlers in the Deep South

·        Bread Pudding for dessert—simply because it's one of my favorites and the others are taken, Red Velvet cake for Christmas, banana pudding for Thanksgiving.

Recipes for these dishes are all over the internet, find one or contact me for my recipes and make it your tradition—you'll have success conquering your resolutions, put more cash & coins in your pockets, and have a happy New Year. 

That's my perspective for New Year, but you may be wondering, "Has it worked for me?" I'm afraid the answer is a resounding, "NO!" But, it's because I've not followed my own rules. I can't remember the last time I made New Year's Resolutions, much less executed one to fruition. But, this year will be different. I'm "executing" one at this very moment. I'm putting my thoughts, the elements of tradition down on paper and sharing it with . . . everyone. I may not share my five resolutions with everyone since it's pretty much admitting my character flaws, my past failures, and my lack of strength and courage, but I will share with those closest to me since I will need their support through the process. And, if you have lofty goals ahead of you, don't be shy. Be brave, be bold, and ask for and accept help from those around you. You'll both be better off for sharing and working together.

There's more to consider about resolutions. The detailed plans are critical to your success. If you have friends or family with a history as it relates to your resolutions, again, be bold and brave and ask them how they have done so well in one area or another. Maybe the fittest of your friends just simply has great genes and doesn't work too hard to maintain weight and fitness while another has a totally different genetic profile but still manages to stay in great shape---do your research. If you want to do better at work, learn new skills, get involved in a new hobby, remember to be bold and brave. Don't stop at asking friends or family for guidance, instead go to the internet search for New Year's Resolutions, and search your specific topic. You'll generally find unlimited resources to help you get where you want to be. 

Here is my first resolution for 2024: "I will be more fiscally responsible." It sounds simple enough, I know, but I've spent hours discussing, sharing, and planning and now it's time to execute. 

Here's how it came about:

I examined my monthly expenses, just an hour or so looking over my bank statements, using the knowledge I've gained, from a variety of sources including online research, and I found several opportunities. First, my health insurance company pays me cash incentives for living healthily. They sent me a debit card and every time I meet certain goals, they put cash on the card. And, this is a dual-value program. Not only does it put money in my pocket but my health and fitness goals are an easy by-product of the program. Here's how it works, I track the steps I take over the day using my Fitbit, and every time I meet the daily objective set for me by the insurance company, they put money in the account. Several other activities earn money for me. The second part of my fiscal reform is my driving. My car insurance company gives me discounts on my monthly premium based on my driving behavior tracked by a device installed in my car. The device tracks my speed, how hard I brake, how fast I take turns, and how often I let my cell phone distract me while I'm driving then the device sends the "trip report" to the insurance company and they compare those numbers to their standards and recalculate my premiums.  There are two other elements to my earning and spending and savings program.

As suggested, I've discussed this with my family so they can help me remember my goals and objectives, I've set up reminders in my calendars and on my phone—and this was just the tip of the iceberg. I'm putting (or keeping) more money in my pocket and I'm living a safer, healthier life. And, that's my reward, you try it!

January 01, 2024 17:21

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