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Jeb Bladine: Yet another idea about resolutions

It’s resolution time in America.

Some people try to eliminate bad habits; others pledge to adopt positive practices. Resolutions such as “I’m going to lose weight” require both sides of that coin.

Perhaps “resolution” is too weighty, especially if your pledge nosedives. It’s bad enough to fall short without having to suffer the humility of a failed commitment. How about just making an effort … giving it a shot … taking a stab at it?

A botched resolution can feel personally demeaning, but an honest effort that doesn’t quite produce desired results is an invitation to try again.

So, in that spirit of wishy-washiness, my New Year’s Idea (not resolution) is to shoot a few balls out of the air, one at a time.

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

We all have “too many balls in the air.” It can be mentally invigorating, like a juggler who keeps adding one more flashing blade or spinning plate to the act. But in an epic clash of clichés, too many balls can spoil the broth.

Multitasking is a necessity today, but it can be a formula for stress and general dysfunction. One important skill in those circumstances is compartmentalization — focus on a task at hand without interruptions from other balls.

Easier said than done, I know.

Step 1 is to identify all your obligations: Make a list of all the unresolved situations in your personal, family, friendship, business, community and civic lives. Categorize them into those that will work out fine if you just act responsibly at key times, and those that require your continuing careful attention to alleviate or solve identified challenges.

Your list is too long. All our lists are too long, so Step 2 is essential to the plan.

Use red ink to cross out what you can eliminate without regrets. As in, “I’m not going to worry about that now, or ever.” Doing so will reduce some stress.

Use a yellow felt pen to place other objectives in suspended animation. As in, “I’ll get back to these when I have some time, but for right now they are off my mind.”
Those remaining are green lights for action. One by one, compartmentalizing as you go, turn them yellow or red.

I figure that when I finally can see the sky — unblocked by all those balls — maybe I will be able to set a few New Year’s Resolutions. Like losing some weight!

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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