It's commonplace to make promises to yourself around this time of year and normally, my primary promises to not get caught up in the resolution obsession. Too often, it leads to a severe case of self-loathing as you take stock of your life and find it wanting, making promises to yourself that you don't keep. When you look at a brand-new sparkling year, thoughts of change should be about something more than limiting your intake of chocolate chip cookies, shouldn't it? It should be something that, to borrow a phrase from myself, honours your life and the people you love.

To that end, I've had some thoughts…

Last week wasn't bad. I was counting down the minutes to having 10 glorious days off and trying to get every item on my to-do list done. For once, I had been reasonably realistic, meaning there were only about 20% more items than I could feasibly do and, more importantly, I was aware of this fact. Still, I was tired - the holiday season kicks butt. On Wednesday, I went to see my doctor to get my B12 shot, something we've increased to twice a month. At some point Thursday afternoon, I realized I was simultaneously writing two posts and answering questions on HealthCentral, that one of the posts was pretty funny and that whenever I wasn't actively dictating to Dragon, I was humming. While taking a break for lunch, I realized that my brain felt nimble and fast. I felt like one of those circus plate spinners having several plates going, but not in that way where you're expecting everything to crash down around you any minute. No, this felt as if I was in complete and supreme control of every single plate, knowing exactly when to set them spinning again so they worked together in a synchronized, balanced whole. I felt like Superwoman. And it was because of that B12 shot. It is a wee miracle in a syringe, a raspberry-coloured shot of pure energy that gives me back my brain and enables me to dance on the highwire. 

Resolution #1: continue with bi-weekly B12 shots.

The next day, I woke up exhausted and with a pea soup fog in my head so dense that it took most of the day to get even halfway back to normal. 

Resolution #2: just because I have a lot of energy, doesn't mean I should spend all of it in one go.

And in a perfect segue… Someone said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Some people attribute this wise observation to Freud, others to Einstein (my vote is on the latter), but regardless of who said it, those are words that can be applied to pretty much any situation. For instance, my inability to notice when I’m running low on energy and should sit still. A couple of times, it's led to me getting sick and I'd very much like to avoid that in the coming year. It's pretty clear by now that I will probably always work more than I should. Instead of continuing my attempts change who I am, it seems a better idea to focus on how I work. Leading to 

Resolution #3: work smarter, not harder. It might behoove me to remember I have a chronic illness and act accordingly in terms of managing my energy.

Exactly how to accomplish this is currently a bit vague, but will probably include the following:

Compartmentalize when I work on what. For instance, HealthCentral is my weekday job, weekends are for my own various projects.
Don’t work past 9pm
Be proactive, not reactive
Acquaint myself with saying No

I’m open to suggestions – how do you work smarter?

When I look back on 2011 I’m mostly happy with the year. A lot of exciting things happened, but there was also the mysterious and repeated disappearance of time. Weeks would fly by and I've come up for air, look around and wonder what happened to a month, sometimes two. Something important but lost in the shuffle: spending time with friends. When you start every e-mail to your friends with "I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to reply…" it’s a sign that you've lost sight of the essential. Work might be exciting, absorbing and time-consuming, but it is no substitute for people. 

Resolution #4: make time for friends and family.

What are your resolutions?