What To Do In Each New Year? - Continuous Improvement For Life

The March of the Resolute

For several years, I never understood the idea of making New Years' Resolutions. This was partially because I never heard about them at home growing up, and they were not mentioned in school until High School, that I recall. Perhaps people in my area just did not partake in New Years activities as fully as those in some other parts of the state. At my house, my father made New Year's Pillowcases in the basement on his mother's old treadle sewing machine - sometimes new draperies as well - and cooked sauerkraut and pork for luck.

I never ate any of the sauerkraut and pork back then, because it smelled bad -- but this was from a young person that hated catsup and never had a pizza until 9th grade (Chef Boyardee, from a boxed mix). I'd never heard of Chinese food and spaghetti only came out of a can. When I was 15, I was treated to Kentucky Fried Chicken® on my birthday, but because we used no spices at home except salt, pepper, cinnamon, and sage, my stomach could not handle the dozens of special spices in the KFC fare and sent it back up the dumbwaiter, as it were.

After that, I was determined to find new foods I could enjoy as soon as possible, but it was not actually until college years that I was able to do so. It was more of a a five-year resolution and I was resolute about it.

In light of all of this, my first recommendation is to:

1) Try New Foods

There are several foods I want to try, but I began gathering new recipes at the end of the 9th grade and have hundreds of them now. A few for New Year's itself are listed here:

The new foods I tried early in college were Chinese dishes, mushrooms (the food not the drugs), pizza, submarine sandwiches, tacos, shrimp, salami, lamb, polish sausage, and the condiments hot sauce, sour cream, and salsa. My favorite spice or herb quickly became cilantro. Then I discovered curry as well. Next, I tried many vegetables I had never seen before -- Today, I consume more vegetables and fruits than meat.

If you do not know how to cook at all, then my second suggestion for 2009 is to:

2) Learn the Basics of Cooking

I think this is very important in that it can be used to promote independence and creativity, to provide a sense of accomplishment, to widen the range of foods one can enjoy, to entertain friends or provide for one's family, to cut costs, and for a number of individual reasons.

The advent of possible emergencies is one possible reason -- In a natural disaster or power outage that closes area restaurants, the ability to prepare even simple dishes and meals (even those that need no "cooking") can be invaluable. remember the story of Stone Soup, in which the hungry townspeople and three soldiers gathered the little food available in each household and prepared a feast for the whole town. Cooking is survival. Good cooking is much more than that.

At home, you need to have some basic staples, utensils, and equipment and it all need not be overwhelming. Items that multitask are the most useful. One need not to attend culinary school to learn how to cook - although that's a thought - but once can begin with some basics. A good cookbook outlines what you need to get started and these books are available at Amazon.com, online bookstores, department stores, and Half-Price Books Records, Magazines, Etc. (one of my favorites). Check the website for locations near you.

A variety of cooking shows appear on television, but beware of many of them. I know at least two that proliferate in the waste of large plastic baggies and throw away massive quantities of good food in order to "stimulate the economy" by buying more. Nonsense! I first heard in the 1970s that the French insist that they can live on what we in America throw away, and I hope that changes in this - hopefully - Green Century.

There are also the culinary reality shows in which competing chefs yell, curse, throw things, undermine one another, and scream profanities over the food as they prepare it. I do not want to eat such food and I hope that you will not learn to cook in this manner.

What is Continuous Improvement?

Continuous Improvement has been a set of buzz words in workforce development and business for a couple for decades. Very simply put, it means to continue to advance over time.

To my mind, this does not mean to be in a frenzy, to develop as fast as possible, or to amass the largest fortune as quickly as can be done, but rather a planned, steady pace of enhancement of performance or output or both.

This is the concept I prefer over the "cramming" types of overachievement, whether it is in school, in the DA's office, or on the production line. Long lasting improvement as a foundation for still future enhancement is gradual, though planned and incremental. IT can be measured, but I don't think it can be forced beyond a reasonable point.

The Asian Proverb is this:

Happy where I am, also willing to improve.

Thus, this is my third recommendation for 2009 is:

3) Be Happy Where You Are, But Also Open To Opportunity.

For example, this is the concept I am applying when I write that a worker should always be looking for a new job - That is, reading and being aware of business and industry trends, looking at the want ads and online jobs openings, noticing announcements that new businesses are coming to town and other such proactive activities.

We never know in the 21st century when we will suddenly need a job and we can make a wider network of business contacts and even friends by staying active in looking at what's available in the job market locally and nationally. This is a reason that I offer reviews such as: Top 25 Best Small Towns for New Jobs and Business.

A new job need not be the opportunity you might need. It might be a new friend or other relationship, a new solution to a dilemma, a new car, a new place to live, a new hobby, a new restaurant, a new concept, a new direction or any other aspect of life.

For example, HubMob is certainly an opportunity to share information and meet new people and fun characters.

For 2009, I wish you new opportunities – and new foods if you are willing to try some of them. If these ideas are not palatable, then remember that for New Year’s, some folks specifically purchase new underwear or change all the light bulbs in the house.

One child I knew named all of his socks for New Year’s -- So, choose your own opportunities for 2009 and enjoy them!

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Comments 19 comments

Netters profile image

Netters 7 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

Very well written. A big thumbs up!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks, Netters and Happy new Year! I hope we receive a lot of Hubs on this one. :)


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

I like this hub, trying new foods is always a priority in my list. I think more people should be more adventurous and try new foods. Did you know that Peru has been chosen gastronomic destination of the year?


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

No, I did not know anything about this distinction for Peru. So, I'm going to have a look! Thanks for telling me :)


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

A nice slant on a good topic- I especially love the 'try new foods.' Sometimes you have to look at the details!


jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 7 years ago from Scotland

Nice Work Patty as always, I love your outlook on life.....jimmy


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Great hub Patty! I too love the concept of continuous improvement....michelle


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Wow this is an inspiring hubmob hub.  Good job!  I thought it was really neat how you never tried Kentucky Fried Chicken and other foods I had when I was very young until you were 15, and I think it made you more appreciate of the variety of food because it was a novel thing for you growing up.  I love the variety of foods myself, but my sisters were always really picky eaters and did not realize how lucky we were to be exposed to so many different types of food.  I think they are improving a little bit now, but they still seem really stuck on some boxed type of foods that could be made from scratch. 

Also, I love your advice about continuous improvement and how we should always be reading, and learning to prepare ourselves for new job opportunities.  I am sure this hub will be the motivational boost many need for finding that new job this New Year.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

Excellent, try new foods, learn to cook and be happy add learn to garden and you have it all.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Bob Ewing! - Yes, you have it correctly. I think that's why I added a a photo of a :) Your gardening and cooking tips are spot on.

Funny thing last night - saw a program about cooking without power at home. What a coincidence! - I must be on the right brainwave...

jimmythejock - Well, and yours keep me laughing as well as thinking, so there you are.

Lifebydesign - Do tell us what you try and if you like it or not.

Ripplemaker - I hope it never becomes monotonous! - but I think it can build up its own momenhtum until it becomes a part of a person.

SweetiePie - Boxed foods and their sugar & salt make me feel like I'm swelling up and like I ate the desert. LOL. I think I DO enjoy the variety now because I had none back then. AND working 10 years as a restaurant manager, I never really had time to enjoy a meal with supervisors chasing us around with stopwatches- how bad is that? And my jobs before the last 10 years were, in the majority, such that breaks were not given very often. So, I like to look at and try new foods now. I missed a lot by working too many hours.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

That's a great way to improve Patty...continuously advance over time. Great Hub, I enjoyed very much. Thank you.


Bellemerchant profile image

Bellemerchant 7 years ago from New York

Trying new foods was one of my new year's resolution last year. It was great! You get to infuse your palate with all sorts of flavours from different parts of the world. It is quite an experience. Great Hub


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Patty! I wish more people would be more adventurous with trying new foods. Over the Christmas holidays I met a friend of my daughters who has two children a 10 year old boy and a 9 year old girl. The kids were having such a great time playing with my granddaughters that we invited them all to stay for dinner. What a mistake: we were informed by the 10 year old that he only eats Redhots hot dogs for supper with Frenchs mustard and Kraft dinner. The 9 year old pipes up and lets us know that she will not eat anything that has vegetables in it.

What an ordeal that was. It was probably the hardest dinner we ever had to suffer through.

Great hub as always regards Zsuzsy


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Zsuzsy - That was certainly not a nice dinner party for your family. I suppose instilling a variety of foods in the diet early in life helps to avoid such pickiness. I hade a young cousin once who suffered a condition in which nothing could be digested except carbohydrates. How would those picky eaters like that? Anyway,  what did you all do? Did you serve your planned meal and let the picky kids fast for the evening? 

Bellemerchant - I'm glad you did that last year and that it was a success!

Dottie1 - Gradual is best, I think. Glad you like the Hub!


Purple Perl profile image

Purple Perl 7 years ago from Bangalore,India

Great hub,Patty!Improving one's overall quality of life is good but being broken into various little goals is super.Cooking and eating new,I liked that best.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks, Purple Perl -=- Small steps add up to big changes. :)


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Excellent hub, Patty.  I think your advice about a steady, consistent improvement is a nice, relaxed perspective.  Much better than going gangbusters and missing out on enjoying the experience to the fullest.

Yes, I like the idea of taking one's time to really enjoy it.  I may say it again, I like it so much.  Thanks, Patty!

Oh yeah, I had to come back and edit.

Um, I don't cook. However, I've been thinking about learning, and you have inspired me to carry through on that, Patty. Thanks, again!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Shirley - I hope you find a few simple dishes that you enjoy cooking. It's fun, really and comes in very useful. Thanks for enjoying this one!


CharBrar profile image

CharBrar 7 years ago from Chicago

Very inspiring. Great work as usual

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