At the end of my resolution brainstorm, I ended up with twelve resolutions that fall into roughly three categories: general, edification, & finance.
The general category has three straightforward tasks/choices that have the potential to make a sizable impact on my everyday routines.
Resolution #1: No using my phone in the car. Period. I have never been one for texting while driving (though it has happened a handful of times; with no cars around and something “important” to text, I somehow thought I could justify a quick one as long as I didn’t take my eyes off the road). For several years, though, I did consider long car trips the perfect time for phone calls to catch up with my grandmother or friends in other states. I have since dropped this habit, but I still sometimes find myself sending text messages at stoplights, checking my phone to see if I have received a text, or making a phone call to check on family dinner plans. I believe that any and all phone usage by a driver is dangerous. So, rather than trying to make exceptions or find ways to do it “safely,” I’m cutting it out completely. In addition, I am going to avoid sending text messages, calling, or talking to anyone I know to be driving.
Resolution #2: Keep car cleaned out. I plan to deal with my coffee mugs, lunch containers, trash, and goods daily. I work and attend school in a neighboring city that is about thirty minutes from my home, so I spend at least an hour in my car most days of the week. Not only will a tidy car be more pleasant, but it will also help ensure that I am ready for any passengers, objects, or tasks that might require my car.
Resolution # 3: Allow 45 minutes minimum to get to school or work. While the drive only takes about thirty minutes, traffic, accidents, and railroad crossings can slow me down. My mornings are significantly less stressful when I am not worried about being late for work or class. While I am not a particularly speedy driver (quite the opposite, in fact), I was pulled over for speeding one day last semester when I was running behind schedule. Ack! Allowing more time will make my commute safer and more relaxed, as well as improve my gas mileage and reduce the odds of me getting a speeding ticket.
None of these three general resolutions is particularly difficult. Sure, it might require a little foresight for me to avoid using my phone in the car or allow enough time in the mornings to leave 45 minutes early, but the payoff is significantly greater than any inconvenience. Plus, I’m betting that once I get into this new routine it will be pretty simple to keep it up. Keeping my car cleaned out should be a cinch, especially as I’ll doing it daily, so there won’t be a chance much accumulation!
Up Next: 2011 Resolutions, Part II: Edification