Gail McGovern is the President and CEO of the American Red Cross.
The last time I made a major resolution was in January ’02, the year after September 11. September 11th was a terrible reminder that life is fragile, and that we need to take comfort in the small things. So, I decided I would eat chocolate (the ultimate comfort food) every single day for the rest of my life, and I’m very proud to report I’ve stuck to that.* I even took sacks of chocolate with me to Africa because I didn’t want to miss my daily chocolate.**
I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, though. Thinking that January 1 is the time to straighten out your life seems like a bad policy for me. Instead, I resolve to try to do the right thing every day. Maybe this makes me sound like a Girl Scout, but I really do. I resolve to be healthy and fit, I resolve to be a good person to my husband and my family, and I resolve to be kind to my colleagues and coworkers. Whenever I make a mistake, which happens 1,000 times during the course of the year, I go home and say, “I resolve to not do that again.” So I guess I make resolutions throughout the year. Once I think of something to improve, I don’t want to wait until January 1 to work on it because by then it may be too late.
I applaud people who do make New Year’s Resolutions and stick to them. I think it’s a wonderful thing to do and a great way to kick off the New Year, but I’ve just never done it. Whether you plan on making a resolution or not, I wish each one of you a very happy start to 2011.
What do you hope to achieve in 2011?
* On a plane years ago, I sat between two Mars employees who love doing market research. They gave me new kinds of chocolate nonstop for that whole flight. I came home and thought, “I’m not going to be able to eat chocolate for an entire month.” This was before my resolution.
** I have 2 favorite candies. I eat Dove’s Promises and I love Butterfingers. I’m milk chocolate, not dark chocolate. I also love the Ghirardelli squares with peanut butter and caramel.