We get it. Beach body dreams that seem possible during the magical holiday season can seem unrealistic when January reality sets in. Count us among those who have already chosen sleep over exercise this year. So if you're one of millions of Americans who find themselves right-sizing those resolutions this week, we'd like to offer five simple, attainable alternatives for making yourself and your city better in 2020.
Resolve to know your neighbors. Being a good neighbor is a powerful prevention for so many of the problems that plague us: loneliness, fear, suspicion, crime. Isolation and loneliness are real and potent threats to a healthy society. In 2017, Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called loneliness an "epidemic." Separated by our safety features, our gated communities, our rear-entry garages and our flickering screens, we are less likely than ever to know the people who live nearest to us. Resolve to buck that trend in 2020, for your own sake, for their sake and for the health of our city.
Resolve to make your voice heard. This is an election year. Go vote. The last day to register for March 3 primaries is Feb. 3. Early voting starts Feb. 18. Resolve to look for other ways to participate in civic affairs too. Attend a public hearing. Write a letter to the editor.
Resolve to help someone else. Support a charity. Join a PTO. Serve those in need. According to research by the Mayo Clinic, volunteering contributes to a healthier lifestyle, including lower risk of depression, lower stress and even a longer life.
Resolve to enjoy beauty. Visit a park, or take in art and cultural opportunities such as an orchestra, museum, ballet or musical. In sociological studies, participation in cultural activities has shown significant correlation to life satisfaction and longevity.
Resolve to stay informed. Thomas Jefferson wrote that, "Wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government." In an age of fake news and filtered content, one of the most important things we can do is to inform ourselves. This newspaper is a good resource, but we don't pretend to be the only news source available. Read widely. Be open to opposing viewpoints. Seek out professional journalists. Be a savvy news consumer.
There are 49 weeks left in 2020. Plenty of time to try out some new resolutions to make yourself and your community better than before.
(c)2020 The Dallas Morning News