I love having February 22 for a birthday. It’s cool to share a birthday with George Washington and Ralph Smedley, the founder of Toastmasters. I also like its position on the calendar – a little more than 7 weeks after the start of the new year. It makes it wonderfully convenient to take a pass on all the “New Year’s resolutions” nonsense, and set my goals for the coming year on my own terms. As we all know, society expects us to make these resolutions, so we do it because everyone else does, and in most cases, by the time my birthday rolls around, the resolutions – and any effort to keep them – are long forgotten. By setting my goals at birthday time, I’m the only one making goals, and there is more attention my friends and family can use to hold me accountable.

With that, it’s time to set some goals as my 46th year comes to an end and a new one begins.

• I will lose 80 pounds. That sounds a lot bigger than it is. There are 52 weeks in a year. Losing 1.5 pounds a week results in 78 pounds gone in 52 weeks. I have a spreadsheet set up breaking this down into 4-week segments, 6 pounds per segment. Losing weight, of course, means eating less and exercising more. I am making a new commitment to reducing the amount of what I eat. Also, having taken 2 swimming classes, I have just about mastered the skills I need to swim anywhere in the pool, even the deep end. I will start by swimming at least 30 minutes per session, at least 2 times per week. (This will be easier to do when the pool in the apartment complex opens, rather than just relying on the YMCA pool being open when I can get to it.) Swimming is the perfect exercise for someone who has arthritis that rules out more well-known forms of exercise. Plus, swimming is incredibly fun, not having the soul-crushing boredom of repetitive gym workouts. I have more confidence of weight loss success this year than any year in my adult life.

• I will strengthen my career. I enjoy being an administrative professional. I’m not real crazy about where I’m currently doing it. This is a tougher goal to fit into the SMART acronym, because I’m not sure if I just need to find a new department, a new company, or just make improvements where I am. I expect some clarity on that to come this week, and even more over the next month or so. I know I will use this blog regularly to express my thoughts. It might be career stuff, spiritual stuff, fearless sports predictions, or just general silliness. I have figured out in recent months that keeping thoughts bottled up is never good for you mentally and emotionally.

• I will be spiritually stronger. How? It starts with Bible study & prayer. I do these things almost every day, but I must do so ABSOLUTELY every day. You have stronger relationships with people you speak and listen to, and that’s what prayer and Bible study is, talking and listening to God. My study will include faith, being at one with the Holy Spirit and loving others (plus other things as God instructs me to study).

My family has a good bit of silliness about it, and one of my favorites is with my dad’s wife, Judith. One time she said 47 was her favorite number. Why? Because no one ever mentions it, it’s a prime number, just something different. It’s randomly ridiculous, and I love that. Having been born 46 years ago, that means 2/22/16-2/21/17 will be my 47th year of living. I plan to make it my best year, embracing the random ridiculousness of the number 47 to excel as I never have.

Happy birthday to me!