Our year ends and 2020 begins in but a few days, which leaves many of us assessing our lives, goals and accomplishments.

My past New Year’s resolutions have been empty promises to myself, never to be reached – however, 2019 has been different.

I managed to stick with my weight loss resolution, and a few months ago reached my goal: to lose 45 pounds.

The biggest change I made was to consistently eat breakfast; smoothies, usually. Working more has helped, too – I have less time to snack, but have had to make a conscious effort to, for the most part, avoid fast food (though I still indulge more than I probably should).

I’ve heard a lot of people who have lost significant weight say they never realized how miserable being overweight was. I certainly didn’t. Besides the obvious health benefits, being at a healthier weight has made life more fun. I enjoy shopping again. I’m more confident. I’m not tired all the time. I worry less what others think of me. I take better care of myself.

Yes, 2019 will go down in my books as The Year of Self Care. I intend to keep this attitude through my life’s duration. Now, though, what will my 2020 resolution be?

I had a professor at Doane College tell me years ago that one of the best ways to improve one’s writing is to read. There are a few readings parked various places in my house, only to be briefly leafed through. To name a few: “Willa Cather on Writing: Critical Studies on Writing as an Art,” “Stranger Than Fiction” (Chuck Palahniuk), the rest of “Gwendy’s Button Box” (Stephen King) and any given issue of The New Yorker.

Though not exactly recreational reading, my AP Stylebook should probably be consulted more often. In my stories I’ve been letting a lot of little things go, and the only way I’m going to learn said “little things” is to pay attention to them and follow the rules.

All that being said, 2019: The Year of Self Care will become my Lifestyle of Self Care. My 2020 New Year’s Resolution will be to read more. It’s a common one, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable.

Similarly goes a weight loss resolution: it’s a common goal, but that doesn’t make it – or, most of all, the person committing to that goal – any less valuable.

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