If I believed everything they market to me on television, and I often do, apparently we're all fat nicotine addicts with crappy jobs. They actually got me on two out of three, but at least I quit smoking in 1996.
If the constant overload of doomsday news programming isn't enough for you, we now get to enjoy the bombardment of commercials reminding us how unhappy we should be with ourselves, all based on New Years' resolutions we'll rarely keep. Luckily it only lasts a few weeks before they move on to reminding everyone who is single that Valentine's Day is coming and you're alone, and for everyone who isn't how cheap you are. Hey, every "Kiss My Ass" begins with "K" too.
Losing weight for the sake of your health really is a good thing - but doing it at a gym full of hardbodies just ain't gonna happen. Beating yourself up about it or giving up before you start won't help you either. I believe in starting slowly and trying to introduce better thinking that eventually becomes routine. Reading labels actually did help change my own way of thinking about food, or at least paying attention to what goes into my body. "Hey, this only has half of the saturated fat recommended for me each day. Better eat two."
Quitting smoking is a given. Whatever you need to do, do it. The nicotine gum worked for me to get through the physical cravings (which were relatively brief) when I quit cold turkey on December 28, 1996 (Smoke-free World). The pyschological addiction took longer but not nearly as long as one might think.
As far as a career change? In this economy I'd save any Johnny Paycheck-like speeches you've fantasized giving (ala Take This Job and Shove It) until you secure another job. But it never hurts to do a personal assessment of where you are, who you work for, and weigh all of the pros/cons of what you've got now (or had recently); then start thinking about where you really want to be and what you want to be doing. You may stay, you may leave, but at least you can move past the negative thinking. At least for a week.
What they don't advertise on television is that we're all in this together. Random acts of kindness can help everyone, even if it triggers only a momentary change in the perspective of one person (yourself included) that we're really not all self-absorbed a*holes.
If you itemize your tax deductions, the deadline to include charitable donations is December 31 (and that's the date of the check or credit card transaction, not when it's actually cashed). You will be helping others as well as yourself.
If you don't have the energy for personal reflection, you can remember all those celebrities who passed this year. Yes, it's morbid and at first I was ready to add my typical sarcastic commentary, but after reading through over 100 names, I realized I did feel connected to many of these people and I am genuinely melancholy knowing that they aren't in my life anymore, including people like George Carlin, Bernie Mac, Heath Ledger, Eartha Kitt, Tim Russert, Paul Benedict (Mr. Bentley from the Jeffersons), Suzanne Pleshette, Don LaFontaine (the voice for movie trailers), Jim McKay, Majel Barret (the voice for Star Trek), Estelle Getty and Michael Crichton.