Around this time of year, I like to observe my own time-honoured tradition of reviewing my resolutions; to take stock of my struggles and triumphs over the previous 12 months in order to improve the next. I’m not one of those people who can just shout out the first resolution that comes to my champagne-addled mind when the countdown starts, only to be soon forgotten. You’re talking to a life-long list maker – someone who makes a checklist for everything simply for the pleasure of crossing things off. I take this shit seriously.

So every December, I take some time to myself to think up some life-altering, ground-breaking, look-at-me-I’m-so-fucking-responsible resolutions for the year to come. I usually end up with something like 10, which I combine and whittle down to a manageable four or five. And I usually do pretty well with them, which I guess isn’t too hard when they’re superficial things like “read more news” or “lose more weight”.

So imagine my shock and self-disgust when I dug out my previous diary, only to find that of my five carefully crafted, S.M.A.R.T. resolutions for 2014, I have managed to keep exactly one. And it’s a stretch, because I was supposed to be focusing on my health and weight all year, and I’ve only begun to care in the last few months. Apparently small things like staying on top of industry publications once a week, and learning to properly budget and live on cash were just more than I could handle this year.

Maybe I wouldn’t be so disappointed in myself if I hadn’t recently learned some things that have given me some new perspective. My mother has been looking into my ancestry on my father’s side, and the more she digs the more it seems like if there was an important person or event in history since the year 900 (that’s not an exaggeration), my ancestors were connected to it/them. My family tree is full to bursting with some of the bravest and boldest men and women who helped shape Canada and the US into what they are today, and then there’s me: overweight, under-employed, and apparently content to remain so.

This, probably more than anything else in my life, has made me realize how foolishly I’ve conducted myself in recent years, and how it’s long past time for me to grow the fuck up. I appreciate that every family has its black sheep, but I never realized I was mine. It’s made this year’s resolution roundup seem all the more important; getting healthy and improving my finances should still make the list, but this year I want to aim higher and, most importantly, follow through.

I’ve always believed in challenging my own comfort zones and trying new things, but in retrospect it seems like I’m only fearless in that way with the small things in life. Finding out that I’m descended from so many heroes and innovators has been empowering, and I feel like this year what I’d like to do most is just make my ancestors proud.