This blog is part of the City's Let's Talk Public Safety Program

Dec 27

New Year, New Habits

Posted on December 27, 2021 at 6:15 PM by Deputy Aaron Scheller

New Year StockArt
In a few days, another year will come a close and many of us will be feeling dejected because of unmet dreams. These dreams may have included retiring, buying a home, landing a new job, achieving a fitness goal, improving or starting an important relationship.  Around this time of the year, it’s not uncommon to look back at the last 12 months and feel upset or depressed with what we perceive as a lack of success.  But my question to you is “What is success?”
This month, instead of sharing safety tips to help you stay safe in the upcoming year, I want to take a minute to encourage you in your personal life. Now, I know I’m a law enforcement officer, not a psychologist.  But I’ve responded to calls for service where I can sense the brokenness or sorrow weighing heavy on people, and I’ve had some really powerful, maybe even life-changing conversations.  Conversations I hope helped them as much as they helped me.
I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions as much as I’m talking about “New Habits” to help us get through difficult times, and emerge stronger and better. The trick is to set achievable goals and adopt simple habits that will help you be successful. These are some personal habits I have created this last year that I plan to carry into 2022.

First, don’t be hard on yourself. You can’t control the uncontrollable. Personally, I have experienced challenging and stressful moments, both in my personal and work life. And each time, I have learned that there is only one thing I can control – and that’s myself, nothing and one else. So give serious thought to the person you want to be.  Me, I want to be kind and honest, and I want to spend quality time with my family and friends.
Girls at the Park StockArt I want to make more time for joy and laughter, rather than getting caught up and stressed out listening to negative news all day long.  To be successful at this, my family has adopted a simple habit, and that’s to give the TV a rest several days a week. TV time is now spent going on family walks and playing family games.  The result has been exactly what I sought out – a stronger, happier family with countless moments of joy and unbridled laughter.

Second, reflect on all the positive things in your life.  Even during our most trying times, if we make an effort we will find good around us. A few years ago, when one of my daughters was receiving chemo, my family and I experienced one the lowest periods of our life. However, we made sure to practice positive thinking and make time for quiet reflection which made it possible to appreciate the goodness in those who were helping us in one way or another. Even today, I like to incorporate introspection into my morning commute.
Positive Thinking StockArtLastly, get the stress out of your body.  Body movement – be it light such as a walk or yoga or moderate to strenuous such as running or weight lifting – helps reduce stress hormones and improve your mood after only a few minutes. The best way to start is to just start. That’s to say, do not wait until you buy a piece of equipment or until a certain date arrives. Start today. Make it simple, and go at your own pace.

Exercise StockArtTo return to my initial question, my definition of success used to center on wealth and material possessions.  However, that’s no longer the case.  Success to me is embodying the virtues worthy of the respect, esteem, and admiration of my family and friends - being a reliable and supportive husband to my wife, a doting and present father to my children, and a good son to my parents. I measure my success by how I conduct myself and what I bring to family gatherings and get-togethers – laughing over fighting, cheering over jeering, and positive over negative. To me, that’s success.  

That’s it for this blog. As always, thank you for subscribing to Safety Speak. Leaflets with safety tips can be found on the City website. I encourage you to download them, read them, and share them with family members and friends.

Also, if you have any public safety-related questions or concerns you want to share with the City or our local sheriff’s station, or if you have suggestions for topics to cover in this blog, be sure to let me know using the Ask a Deputy feature.

Happy New Year!  I’m excited and optimistic about 2022, and hope you join me in that feeling.