2016 resolutions: Visit the library for ideas, books and research before choosing yours
The Unquiet Librarian
By Virginia Roberts
Director, Rhinelander District Library
Well, here it is nearly the end of 2015, and I am writing about New Year’s resolutions. As this may be published the first few weeks or so into the New Year, how are you all doing on yours? It really is a good question now, because, as humans, it takes us about 21-28 days to form a habit, any habit, exercising daily, smoking, drinking coffee, calling family…I don’t make resolutions any anymore, mainly because the first few times they were things like lose weight, study harder, or attain quiet, and I simply don’t have the conviction to make those stick. The last few years were “Eat/drink more (dark) chocolate”.
Ultimately, that backfired, and along with having children, I put on just over a stone (if you want to know how much that is, come to the library—we call that a reference question). The library has books and other resources that can help if any of the following the top annual resolutions are your New Year’s resolutions:
Top New Year’s Resolutions for the Average American:
- Curb Your Vices:
- a) Lose Weight: Most people wouldn’t consider this a vice, but too much of a good thing is what over weight is. With the rise in obese Americans who are getting diabetes solely due to their weight, this also becomes an important health issue. There are websites and area programs to encourage healthy eating habits and exercise. You don’t have to starve yourself to be thin either. There are so many resources available you just have to do the research. Don’t use diet pills or starvation. That is a temporary fix, not a permanent solution to the problem.
- b) Quit Smoking: Unlike thirty years ago, the effects of smoking have become common knowledge. Not only are you putting yourself at risk for throat cancer and lung cancer, but you are putting others at risk as well. Inhaling second hand smoke is now known to cause cancer. Third hand smoke contains all the carcinogens and heavy metals second hand smoke does, but it coats everything the smoke comes into contact with (think—toddler licking furniture, might as well be eating lead paint). That puts a different light on things when you are smoking around your children and loved ones. Join other Americans this year and quit smoking for good. There are many different aids available to help you quit (nicotine patch, gum, pills, and therapy) so you have no excuse.
c ) Quit Drinking: How many kids and adults have died because a drunk driver hit them. Drinking is also unhealthy for your body, killing your liver and causing super huge beer bellies. This New Year’s get help if you have a drinking problem.
- d) Limit your screen time: Phones, tablets, computers, televisions. It doesn’t matter how its sliced, it’s a glowing screen. As one of my (current) favorite pastimes, I read a great deal on my phone these days—for pleasure, as well as work emails, professional articles, and messaging colleagues. My mate and children play games, watch videos, answer emails, and work. Many of us face a screen 10 hours a day. If you don’t think this is a problem, see how you may be doing on 1a…or resolution 5 for that matter.
- Get Your Finances in Order:
- a) Pay off that Christmas (or ANY) Debt: Most people put their Christmas purchases on their credit card. That then leads them to use one of their New Year’s resolutions on paying off their credit cards. Once you have done that though, don’t stop there. Start saving money for next Christmas so you won’t have to use your credit cards again.
- b) Get a (better) job: If you feel that you are getting paid enough or might be better qualified in another area, by all means look for a new job this year. I would recommend that you don’t quit your current job until you have found and been offered the new job.
3.. Go GREENER: I am not talking Packer’s versus Bears fans here. (As one who has stood in both camps, for my own sanity and self-preservation, I am decidedly neutral on this one). You do not have to put additional insulation in your attic, solar panels on your roof, or a windmill in your yard. Though I am not just talking about changing to florescent or LED light bulbs (recycling available at most hardware stores) or carrying your own grocery bags (though that would help) either.
- a) I am talking composting your compostables (fruit/vegetable, fish, and eggshells, no meat, no fat—and most processed foods are a no-no too).
- b) Taking recycling For a list of what and how to recycle see http://www.wm.com/thinkgreen/what-can-i-recycle.jsp.
- c) Don’t need it anymore, try donating it—or try a local freecycle group–The Freecycle Network–It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (good people). Membership is free and I guarantee you would be surprised by the unusual quality and character of the items offered. I got camping cots one time—and got rid of my college futon.
- d) Another idea that has grown beyond the farmer’s markets is Join a CSA! A CSA, (for Community Supported Agriculture) is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly box or two of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become “members” (or “shareholders,” or “subscribers”) of the CSA. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front, but some farmers will accept weekly or monthly payments. Some CSAs also require that members work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season. Offering fresh, frequently pesticide-free and fully organic produce and herbs, and occasionally other things such as cheese, honey, and free-range eggs and meat CSAs is a wonderful way to try produce you may have passed on because you weren’t sure what to do with it (see number 4) and a really great deal for a single person or a small family. As a member, I highly recommend the investment. You will definitely get more than you pay for.
- e) Finally walk or bike (or ski or row—see resolution 1) to destinations, purchase items locally, preferably purchasing local items. We all win here, lower fuel costs, sustainable economy employed and housed populace and productive members of the area make a good place to live.
- Try something new: I love this one. Think of something you have always wanted to try, but where scared to try (like horseback riding or wakeboarding). You may find that you hate it, but you may find that you love it.
- a) Take up a hobby: What’s really cool, is not only does the library have a TON (at least) of books and videos on how to make and do stuff, every third Wednesday of the month in 2016 is a Crafternoon—so you can learn to make or do something new (or you know, teach something new—the library would love you to volunteer to teach your craft to the community)! I crochet (when I am not reading), incessantly. I am not particularly good at it, but it keeps me from eating incessantly (back to resolution 1) If you have no reason to do such a thing, you can always donate the creations (resolution 3) And while you are doing your needlework (or carving, or fly tying), you can carry on an actual conversation without seeming rude (unlike reading, resolution 5).
- b) Go back to School: A lot of Americans have a dream of going back to school. I found out that it is actually easier to get financial aid the older you are. We are lucky Nicolet College is right in our backyard, or front yard, depending on where you live…Go ahead and apply and see what you are offered. If you can only take a course at a time, than do it. There is no rule on how long you can take to finish and get your degree.
- c) Take a trip: We all need a little time away. There are cool things to do all over the Northwoods (resolution 3e, for starters) and all kinds history, museums, cultural events, agricultural tourism (pick your own produce) and architecture to visit (I seem to recall a dome on the Oneida County Courthouse made of Tiffany glass, for one). Even if you can only take a weekend trip one-hour away, I would encourage you to do it. You will find that you will feel rejuvenated when you return. It tends to give incredible perspective and makes you appreciative on where you are. You will be more alert and productive. So if you are stressed out or you just need a little break, start planning a little getaway (I hear Crandon is nice). If you just can’t and I mean cannot go anywhere—your mind is a powerful tool. We have travel and history books and videos that can take you away better than an old Calgon commercial.
- Spend more time with your family: It is common for most families to hold down several jobs to make ends meet. It is not very healthy, however, to neglect relationships with your family members. We only have one life so let’s make it a point to schedule in time for our families related or created. Come to the library together. Play a board game together. Cook together. Walk together. Or—you could walk to Table Top Game Day at the Rhinelander District Library in April and check out the cookbooks before you leave—but we hope to see you and your family before that.
6.Give Back to Your Community: There are so many amazing organizations who need expertise, time, help, or sometimes just a warm body or some muscle. This is a great way to get to know your neighbors, learn new skills, enhance the ‘ol resume, become acquainted with the community, contribute and shape the place you live. You might be surprising how rewarding it feels, too.
- Work on Your Spiritual Growth: We should never take our spiritual lives for granted. It should be your number one priority. Get deeper in to <spiritual philosophy of your choice> this year and make a commitment to attend <meeting of belief of your choice> regularly. Studies have shown that those who meditate live longer lives. Meditation helps reduce stress and as we all know stress can do terrible things to your physical body.
- Relax More: Nap time is not overrated (neither is chocolate or reading). When was the last time you had seven (or better) hours of sleep? Or just sat by the fire or watched a good flick (available at your library), and crocheted? (ok, maybe I am pushing it, but you know what I mean.) Have you been berry (or apple) picking in the last year? Tobogganing, cross country skiing, or snowshoeing with friends or family? Just out for a hike? Spent a period of time without a thought in your head about work, kids, the economy, or sick friend or family member? If you haven’t a single idea what I am talking about, you need to relax.
9: Get Organized: This being the 22th of December (as I write this), I am not the best person to discuss highly synchronized organization. As I see it, we are all organized in our own way. However, if one cannot move through the paths in the home, has more stuff than sense, and tends to dedicate things unintended for certain uses to such uses because there is not the place for the proper item or you couldn’t find it (such as using books for home insulation, table, hammer, or headboard)…it might be time to get more organized. You could resolution 5 to do it! Organized people are far more able to resolution 2, 3, 8, and 10. Just take my word for it. Oh and the library actually has short books for such a purpose. They work! I have actually had time to read them!
10: Get Healthy: All of the previous resolutions can help get us healthy. Movement, of some kind, on a regular basis, cannot possibly be taken for granted. Where we live, with the bounty around us, there is no excuse for eating poorly—over-processed foods or drinking sugary beverages. It is in everyone’s best interest to take advantage of the place we live—exploring the area and eating (and drinking) its fruits (and lake water). Get out and enjoy the New Year!
Ultimately, your New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t come with the pressure of the New Year (and the holiday season) behind them; they should come when you are ready. Staff at your library does not judge, but will help you find what you need, when you need it. The library will be here when you are ready too.
Virginia Roberts can be reached at 715-365-1082 or firstname.lastname@example.org.