Resolution review: Suggestions to improve our lives surround us


Check out the checkout stand or browse the web: Everywhere, headlines shout out New Year's resolutions to drastically improve our lives in 2019.

Articles suggest resolutions and how to stick to resolutions, such as "be specific" and "start small."

Forbes lists the 10 best personal finance resolutions. Good Housekeeping spells out 35 -- yes 35! -- suggestions, also noting that they are "achievable."

Many of the GH suggestions are simple, such as adding more citrus to your grocery cart. Another easy one: Become a plant owner, explaining that having indoor plants can lower stress levels. Although one could argue that having plants gives a person one more thing to stress over -- keeping them alive.

Plan a vacation, even if it is just a weekend. Apparently research shows that just thinking about an upcoming trip can boost happiness.

More resolutions to bring happiness: Buy flattering workout gear, play upbeat music, donate old clothes, listen to novels while you work out. Write a nice note to yourself as you would to a friend, with kind words of compassion rather than criticism.

Many lists of resolutions include decluttering. There are websites devoted to this endeavor, which causes one to ponder just how and why we have accumulated so much stuff.

Here is an interesting tidbit: Keep kitchen counters clean because studies show that women surrounded by clutter tend to eat more cookies. Maybe that is because the "clutter" includes packages of cookies?

Some resolutions are especially doable for local residents.

See more live theater. This is especially easy in Pleasanton where we have two theater groups that even have musicals onstage this month -- Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre is presenting "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" from Jan. 12-27 at the Bankhead Theater; and Pacific Coast Repertory Theater's "Mama Mia" runs Jan. 26 to Feb. 20 at the Firehouse Arts Center.

If your resolution is to get out hiking, try the 2019 Trails Challenge, a free, self-guided way of exploring parks in the East Bay Regional Park District. Pick up a guidebook at a park district visitor center or download one from the website,, then hike any of the trails in the guide.

Is 2019 your year to volunteer? The Make a Difference for Pleasanton Festival will be held at the library Jan. 19, with dozens of organizations ready and willing to share information about their many diverse volunteer opportunities.

In pondering ways to improve your life, consider the words of Ernest Hemingway: "There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."

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