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ImageLike many people, I’m not one to make a list of new year resolutions. Like most people, the resolutions I’d made in the past were broken and discarded before January had ended. We all choose to make improvements to ourselves throughout any given year. My guess is the decision to make an improvement or change to one’s self is made at the new year simply because many folks view the new year as a rebirth of sorts. It’s an opportunity to shed any of the negative aspects we’ve collected, and leave it in a heap to remain in the husk of last year. Our new self, in the new year, is a clean slate; we are free of those things we allowed to stifle the positive potential of our lives.

Although I pointed out that I don’t make resolutions, I do try to use the new year as a marker to remind me to reflect on my personal goals. This year is no different, outside of the fact that for the first time, I’m sharing it in a public forum.

These last four years have been a rebuilding period for me (Rain Dog and The Dopest Phoenix). More specifically, the last two years I’ve focused on eliminating my credit card debt. On December 20, 2012, I made a final payment to a Visa account and now have zero balances on all four of my credit cards. Woo hoo! Yay me! I must say it felt so very good! As we all know, keeping a balanced and healthy financial self is an ongoing enterprise and must be tended to continually and with diligence. So with this new zero-debt status, I feel I’ve got a good handle on my financial self and therefore, can focus on two new things for 2013: health and creativity.

In just about three weeks from now I’ll have a birthday. Hello 48. Is this what people would refer to as mid-life? I always tease that my mid-life was when I turned 32. The math would suggest, as I once believed, I only expected to make it to my mid-sixties. I’m sure the hard-and-fast livin’ of my earlier life has done a lot to trim some years off the back end. However, I’ve decided to think positively and prepare for a life past 65.

Baby steps, though. I don’t plan on a radical lifestyle change. That would only boost the likelihood of my failure to reach the goals. I’m not going to promise to lose weight. I’m not going to commit to a half marathon by year’s end. I’m merely going to be smarter about what I eat and how much, and I’m going to start with light exercise. No gym membership. I know me and that would just be giving money away. I’m assuming that with these two minor changes, results will come.

Back in September, I mentioned that I wanted to get back into creating artwork (Still Life WIth Oranges). Now, more than three months later, I still haven’t made a move. But now’s my chance. With the new year I can reinvent myself without allowing my own guilt to hold me hostage for being lazy, unfocused or uncommitted. See how that works? New years are great! Time to get moving on a new chapter.

This old way, my life, isn’t working for me anymore. Real and lasting change can be achieved, not with a resolution, but with a revolution. And it starts by choosing to make a change. I choose now.