I believe the reason that many resolutions fail is because they're attempts to change long-term habits; the best example being someone trying to quit smoking. Or lose weight. I was telling Christine last night that we can expect our gym visits to be a little more hectic over the next two months while the "resolutioners" come and go.
My approach will be to resolve to do one thing, and do it once. I can certainly do it more than once, but the actual resolution is to do at least accomplish it one time. I think that's more manageable, and I think I know what I'm going to do.
Early last week, I upgraded the other website that I run. It's about football in the Ottawa region. In updating it this morning, I had to look up information on players at the University of McGill and came across this story from mid-December about...
Strachan Hartley is a member of an athletic family who is young, smart and hard-working - then he was struck by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He hasn't let the disease overcome him.
"Strachan was first diagnosed with cancer last year during our final rotations of medical school. While the rest of the class was studying about how to save patients' lives, Strachan was struggling to save his own while taking the same classes as everyone else. Strachan endured more than six months of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but still managed to graduate with the rest of the class."
Not only did Hartley graduate after being advised to drop out by McGill's dean of students - he managed to graduate in the top 15 per cent of his class.
Hartley is hoping also that his fight will inspire others to give blood or to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or the Terry Fox Foundation. All hospital blood-bank supplies are low at this time of year, but for doctors to find a match for patients such as Hartley, it isn't a simple matter of finding the right blood type - doctors also have to find the right combination of antibodies. That's why it's also important for potential donors to sign up for the stem-cell donor registry.
"Giving blood is so simple," Hartley said. "Whereas many life-saving or life-changing events are difficult or time-consuming, giving blood takes only minutes and makes a tremendous difference in people's lives. Thousands of people in Quebec depend on it and it is just so easy to do. Similarly, registering as a stem-cell donor takes only a few minutes and a blood sample could, literally, be the difference between life and death for someone. Saving a life is a pretty cool and rewarding thing to be able to do."
Okay. You've got yourself a deal. I had planned on doing something similar recently, but it slipped my mind a little, I struggled to fit it in my work schedule, and it didn't happen. Well, it's now my new year's resolution. I'm still nervous, for no good reason that I can pinpoint, but I'll do it anyway. In light of Mr Hartley's accomplishments, I should probably overcome my concern of ending up looking like Iggy Pop.
Oh, and I've begun the process of collecting nickels for World Vision. Like most such things, I wish that I were better able to see the effects of my contribution, and believe strongly that seeing such an effect would greatly encourage fund-raising, but as stated previously, I doubt I'll miss a handful of nickels a week.