COLUMN: A time for making lists and major life changes

‘Tis the season… of superlatives.

We’ve now passed through the season of giving and have entered the season of listing.

You could call it the most tally-ful time of the year, when we look back on the the best and worst and the most whatever 2019 had to offer.

The top 10 most discussed stories on our website, top viral videos, weirdest crimes, biggest political scandals, most inspirational sports stories, most insidious animals – yes, you read that right (the reason they’re so cute is so that they can get away with murder and we’ll think it’s adorable. I’m looking at you, party raccoons).

Today, we offer you the most absurd reasons people called 911 in 2019. And, predictably, there are some pretty idiotic entries.

Anyway, you name it, we’ve listed it. We do it because it’s fun to revisit some of the sillier or more attention-grabbing stories that we’ve covered over the past 12 months.

And also because, traditionally, the stretch between Christmas and the first work days of the New Year tends to be deadly slow, but the news machine still demands to be fed.

The list is a format that plays well to our short attention spans. They’re quick and easy for our brains to digest (giving our stomachs some well-deserved time off). With so much information coming at us from every direction, it never hurts to have it broken down into bite-sized pieces.

If you’ve noticed an excess of food references here, it could be because I have a few superlatives of my own to add to the list this year:

• Most likely to rip the ass out of a pair of jeans I could comfortably zip up this time last year;

• Most asinine decision to start a paid weight-loss program three weeks before Christmas;

• Most annoying person in any room, blathering on about the points value of every bite I stuff into my face.

All of which brings us to that other time-honoured New Year’s tradition – the resolution.

Somewhat surprisingly, for me at least, just over a quarter of people who responded to last week’s web poll indicated that they plan to make a resolution this year.

The rest have apparently read the data and know that 88 per cent of people fail and that, on average, a resolution only lasts about 12 days. That’s good news for anyone who’s recently lost their favourite treadmill at Club 16 – it will be free again in a couple weeks.

It’s also around that time, I expect, that I’ll be losing my clucking mind at the sight of another skinless chicken breast.

According to the experts – Google et al – there are steps people can take to improve their chances of turning a resolution into a lifelong habit.

They helpfully suggest planning ahead, rather than just blurting out some random goal at the approach of midnight on Dec. 31.

Remember that Jan. 1 is just another day on the calendar. If you missed it, it’s perfectly OK to start on Jan. 10 or Feb. 29 (this year’s special bonus date) or any other arbitrary day of your choosing. And if you screw up, the reset button is always close at hand.

Focusing on small victories rather than taking a failure and blowing its significance out of proportion is key to success as well.

As with most things, the trick is setting small, attainable goals or manageable steps along the way to larger ones.

And if you find that none of this is working for you, might I suggest making a list? It probably won’t help, but they’re usually a lot of fun.

Brenda Anderson is editor of the Peace Arch News.

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