Time was, I'd make all kinds of totally unrealistic resolutions. You know, just set myself up for failure.
By February, I was always mired in self-loathing because of my total lack of willpower or commitment.
But now, as I enter the fourth decade of my life, I know myself better than I did when I was in my 20s or 30s.
I know my limitations.
As a testament to that fact, I chose this year to make resolutions I knew I could keep. Here's a sampling.
First, I am going to not miss one episode of "The Young and the Restless" in 2011.
I have DVR and full episodes are available on cbs.com, so I have no excuse to not see every single thing the denizens of Genoa City, Wisconsin do this year.
There is a reason this is important. If I watch the show every day, I will not have to spend $3.49 plus tax each week on Soap Opera Digest. Consequently, I will save about $200 per year if I just watch the show.
See? It's a fiscal move.
Next, I will make sure there is always liquid fabric softener in our laundry room.
The sheets just don't do it for me. I want my bedding, sweaters and towels to be April fresh.
The liquid fabric softener issue is especially applicable when we're talking about my pajamas. There is nothing I like better than a freshly washed pair of jammies that have been doused with liquid fabric softener.
I contend that I sleep better if my pajamas smell like Downy. If I sleep better, I am more refreshed in the morning. As such, I am more productive at work and nicer to people.
See? Everyone wins.
My third resolution is to take my lunch to work instead of grabbing things on the run.
This one will be easy, because I don't like waiting in lines, and by the time I think about lunch everyone else is thinking about it, too.
It's a whole lot easier to tote an egg salad sandwich and container of yogurt to work than to end up six cars back at Taco Bell at noon.
This resolution is going to do four things: Save me money, calories and time and reduce my stress level.
Again, all of these things will put me in a better mood, and the trickle-down effect will be good for all those who have to deal with me.
See? Changing one little thing in my life will cause ripples that will lead to other good things.
The thing that has me psyched about these resolutions is that not only are they good for me, but they will be beneficial for the people I love. Sure, they sound like they're all for me, but when you look at the big picture, they're much more far-reaching.
I'd love to say I'm going to quit all my bad habits. I'd love to say I'm going to come out of 2011 a completely new, better person.
But you know what? I know better. There are simply some things that are, as my friend Emily always says, "The ABC's of me."
Some of those ABC's are good, and some are not so good. The thing is, I've finally become comfortable in my own skin. I've come to terms with the fact that there are some things about me that are just never going to change, so I need to embrace them and try not to inconvenience others with them.
Change, I've found, more often than not begins with baby steps. I believe the trick to loving oneself is acceptance.
All I can do is work on the little things and hope they lead to positive changes in my life.
Bring on 2011! I'm ready.
Jamie Barrand is the editor of the Banner Graphic. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.