52 for the New Year

December 29, 2015

I generally avoid them, but there is resolution I make every year that am able to stick to, with just a little help from Bicycle.

New Year’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s time for many of us to start making those New Year’s resolutions that we won’t be keeping. I generally avoid them, but there is resolution I make every year that am able to stick to, with just a little help from Bicycle. I have long been fascinated by the fact that there are 52 weeks in a year and 52 cards in a deck. I also love to read. So, I’ve made it an annual goal of mine to read 52 books a year (this year it’s been 92 to date), and I use this coincidence of weeks and cards to help me reach my goal. Every year, for the past 20-plus years, I have opened a new deck of the ubiquitous Bicycle playing cards. I throw out the instruction card and the jokers and am left with a box of 52 playing cards. I then use them as bookmarks during the year. As long as I empty the box by the year’s end, I know I’ve met my goal of reading at least 52 books. Note: I am almost done with an anthology I’ve been writing that highlights 52 books, all written by American authors and all 250 pages or less — just right for someone who wants to try reading 52 books in a year, but isn’t sure where to start. Not everyone wants to read 52 books in a year — I get that. But most of us have something we’d like to be better at in a year, and doing almost anything once a week for 52 weeks will make us better. Knit 52 scarfs. Write 52 letters, or columns, or chapters. Collect 52 items. Take 52 guitar lessons. Watch 52 Academy Award-winning best pictures or listen to 52 Grammy-winning albums of the year. Visit 52 parks. Call 52 old friends or introduce yourself to 52 new people. The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter what you pick — just choose something that, when you look back in a year from now, you’ll be happy to have done 52 times. Then treat yourself to a $2 deck of cards and see what happens. If you give this a try, please let me know. I’d love to see how people are using this idea and what they’re accomplishing!