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  Comments (0) Total Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
 
Learning from You
Like I was Sayin....
It’s easier to look back than forward.

It’s at least much more clear. We can reflect on the accomplishments and failures of the last year. We can measure them against what we had hoped to do, then keep the yardstick out to set benchmarks for 2014.

That’s how my New Year’s resolutions work. I write down a list of mostly mundane and vague goals I would like to accomplish over the course of 365 days and then stow it away somewhere – promising to revisit it each month to measure my progress. I don’t, until it’s too late: The year ended and I still don’t know how to roll sushi.

What is most disingenuous about this annual ritual is that I’m measuring myself against myself – a low bar, to be sure, and one that only guarantees as little improvement in my life as possible. Why write down a resolution to “be less selfish” if your only point of reference is the selfishness you’ve previously exhibited? This isn’t self-loathing. It is recognizing that, in the case of making resolutions, perhaps mine are stupid. And I would do far better measuring myself against other people.

For example, two weeks ago one of our reporters, Tristan Scott, wrote a piece titled “The New Face of Homeless” that mostly chronicled the life of one man who had lost his wife, his home, his van and would spend the holiday season in the Kalispell homeless shelter. I edited it, told him something like “nice work” and sent it to the printers. That was it.

But others did far more. After the story was published, our readers resolved to make this man’s life better. A group of you banded together and headed to the shelter. You bought this stranger a new radiator and gave him gas money so he could get back on the road. Oh, and you made sure everyone at the shelter had a gift for Christmas. That’s what you did.

My phone kept ringing until well after Christmas. Flathead Valley residents were asking – resolving – to help in any way they could. I should be measuring my resolutions against their actions.

And it’s not just my behavioral priorities that need to be refined. The same goes for the physical, which are most often the goals we set this time of year since we spent the last month carbo loading on cookies and pizza and trail mix baked with butter. Following this binge, I should probably write down more inspired resolutions than “run more,” or “use my bike more in the summer.” Because look at you.

Over the course of the last year, we’ve reported on the teacher who hiked – much of it alone – the Pacific Crest Trail. She traveled more than 2,600 miles in 110 days without taking a single day off. We told stories about area ultra-runners who landed on the podium in grueling 100-mile races over mountains and through deserts. These aren’t professional athletes. When they return home, they go back to work at law firms, schools and farms.

I read these stories about you, thought how amazing you are, then jotted down empty inspirational phrases for me, like, “improve yourself!” That’s easy, and that’s why I do it.

As 2014 begins, my first resolution is to make better resolutions. Setting specific goals, like volunteering this amount of time for this nonprofit or run this distance on this date, are much harder to keep. But trying to reach them, and falling short, will be much more rewarding than fooling myself into thinking I’ve reached some arbitrary objective and then patting myself on the back. No, last year you set the bar pretty high. And this year I resolve to learn from that.
 
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Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown17h
@kellynbrown
Flathead County may allow political signs to be posted forever http://t.co/gCGk4AZETR No more time restraints http://t.co/p0lQziFxCp
Dillon Tabish
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@djtabish
Kalispell Annexes 40 Acres Where Rail Park Could Surface http://t.co/POsYcPnh0v
Molly Priddy
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Tristan Scott
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Flathead Beacon
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Kalispell Annexes 40 Acres Where Rail Park Could Surface http://t.co/kC1Dzmrl0a