New Year's Eve is quickly approaching, and beyond trying to figure out something "fashionable" yet warm to wear to our sister's annual party, everyone's minds are on those elusive things called "New Year's Resolutions"! But it's no secret that I usually buck the system and do things just a little differently than others. New Year's is no different. In fact, for me it is a lot like Lent. Instead of giving something up, I try to take on something new, different, and slightly difficult.

Now, that is not to say, that I do not give things up either. I mean, who does not have a ton of weight to lose? If I do not lose this flab, how will I be able to don a swimsuit come the dastardly hot summer lurking just around the corner? Or how about cursing less? If I could just cut 10 dirty words from my daily vocabulary, I would sound a whole lot smarter, a little more lady like, and my mom would certainly be happier!

But back to the taking on something new. Many years ago I successfully took on eating healthier which had a trickle-down affect on my family. In an another instance I successfully dieted and took up walking ("a give up" and "take on" kind of thing) and over three years lost 60 pounds. I have fed and clothed the homeless on a regular basis. We have gone green - but city green, not tree-hugger green. I have tried taking on meditation many times and each time failed miserably. I have taken an active role in the more "metaphysical" aspects of my life. I have worked on listening more, talking less.

I have managed to yell less at my kids and turn those situations into learning scenarios-though I doubt they would agree. Last year my intention was to plan mealtime better so that I did not have to have my husband stop by takeout on his way home from work. To eat out less and prepare a home-cooked meal for my family nightly was VERY challenging indeed, but I did it! And much to our children's chagrin, we do not eat out very often. This year's resolution was to connect more with people who I love but get too busy to call or visit. I did okay but could really carry it forward another year!

So the big question is, "what can I take on this year that will benefit others as well as myself? Do I focus on the micro or macro environment? Do I concentrate on personal improvement, improving the community or the world I live in?" Perhaps that New Year's Eve kiss will spark my final decision!