A new year. New opportunity. Fresh starts.

January is the elephant graveyard of motivational clichés and good intentions to better one’s self. By February, the carcasses in various stages of resolution decay will litter the place, and by March, the clattering of dried bones will greet visitors – new arrivals, mostly. They will have instinctively come to take their place with their broken-promises-elephant bonesto-self brethren. Like the elephants of myth, changes to how and why we live instinctively know where to go when they die, and die they do.

There will never be a eulogy uttered.

Human beings are a fatalist bunch, especially when it comes to new years and supposed fresh starts. With New Year’s resolutions, you know the end result before you start – they become self-unfulfilling prophecies. Starting over doing things differently trying to better yourself? There are entire industries built on helping you crash and burn every year, and January first is like Black Friday is to the retail community. Ahh, but they will be there again, in force, next December and January, when you can run through the entire exercise again.

Not the exercise regimen you promise to do this year, but…you get the point.

Instead of setting yourself up for certain failure by looking at the new year (and your life, really) as some sort of cosmic Etch-a-Sketch to simply be picked up and shaken heartily, erasing everything you just did so you can ‘draw anew’ try a different, less adamant, etch-it-stone approach.

Treat your life like your laptop or tablet.

Laptop-MistakesYour laptop or tablet is always there, ready at your beck-and-call, calmly waiting for you to put it into use, OS running smoothly in the background.

Much like life in general you really don’t give that much thought until you need to put the thing into action, at which point you simply log on and jump in. You can communicate, catch up, do basic life stuff like pay bills, shop, make appointments, check on things at work, at home, with family, the weather – all without giving the electronic marvel in your hands a second thought. Everything hums along smoothly, does what it is supposed to do…

Until it doesn’t. Kind of like life.

Any computer technician will tell you how to keep your device working smoothly, running without issue, by taking some simple, preventative maintenance steps on a regular basis. The same basic rules apply to life.
Think of this as an addendum to your owner’s manual; you can print it, keep on refrigerator or bulletin board for a periodic reminder throughout 2016.

Do a periodic disc clean up on yourself? Things will run much more quickly and error-free if you free up disk space discclnupon your hard drive; like your laptop, your brain needs space to think. The disc/self-utility first searches and analyzes your hard drive for files that are no longer of any use, and then removes the unnecessary files. Presto less clutter, more room to compute!

There are a number of different file categories that Disk Cleanup targets when performing the initial disk analysis:

• Compression of old files (memories you tend to dwell on rather than savor)

• Temporary Internet files (trivial stuff, mostly, but does NOT include sports statistics; these do not slow down system operation)

• Temporary Windows files (these are usually extraneous pieces of information that at one time had a purpose such as explaining a situation, but are no longer have much validity)

• Downloaded program files (all the stuff you have planned, ideas you intended to try, and things you have seen on Pinterest or some other DIY site, and said “I want to try that”!)

• Recycle Bin (dump the junk)

• Removal of unused applications or optional Windows components (these are, often as not, toxic people and situations you should be avoiding anyway)

• Offline web pages (cached information: things remembered the way you think they should be, not as they really are – sometimes referred to in delusional terms)

While a cleanup of your personal hard drive will help, you need to go a bit deeper into your utility tool bag and run a defrag. Self-defragmentation is the process of consolidating fragmented data so it will be easier to find, allowing you to work more efficiently. Get organized. Use a journal, electronic or bound-paper. Fragmentation happens to a volume over time as you save, change, or delete files, and running period defrags will put everything back in order.

This may be the most crucial point of all: no matter your spiritual bent, update and then run your anti-virus on a antivirusregular basis. Prayer, meditation, self-reflection will all clear out the cobwebs and will overcome the hard drive-slowing qualities of doubt and insecurities, helping your OS run more smoothly and efficiently.

From time to time, you may also want to download separate malware software. How you get infected with such things that’s all on you.

Sure, you can set all of these things to run automatically, but sometimes default settings aren’t all they are cracked up to be: “Yeah, I’ll get to that…later…” is probably not going to cut it. You need to be proactive, run your own diagnostics, take care of what you need to do.

While chucking most everything and starting over might seem to be the thing to do this time of year, don’t give into the self-defeating hype. You may need just a New Year disc clean up and quick reboot.

And while you’re at it, maybe get a few new upgrades for your browser. But skip the damn emoticon downloads.

Happy New Year.


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