2013 in Review: 3 New Year's commitments any cop can make

Resolutions are so easily broken – we need a new word for changes we will commit to making

This is the time of year we look back at the year gone by and start looking ahead to the year to come. In doing so, we begin making New Year’s resolutions. Despite the true definition of a resolution, it has become something that people are comfortable in making at the end of December and breaking by the end of January. 

I am going to challenge you to do something different this year and make New Year's commitments. Commitments seem to have a greater impact on us — and at a deeper level — because we seem to be more willing to stick with commitments than with resolutions. 

The most common New Year’s resolutions are to butt out (quick smoking), eat healthy, and be more active. I’m going to suggest you make those your personal commitments for 2014, but with a slight twist to each.

But Out
First, drop one “t”. Now, I’m going to challenge you to consider how may times you use the word “but” as an excuse in a day.

•    I know I should work out every day, BUT it is hard when you work shift work
•    I know I should eat healthier, BUT it is challenging when all that is open in the middle of the night are fast food joints and donut places
•    I know I should spend more time with my family, BUT I work long hours and I like to go for a beer with the squad after work to help me relax and wind down
•    I know I should go to the range more often, BUT...
•    I know I should practice my control tactics skills on a regular basis, BUT...
•    I know I should read more, BUT...

What’s important now is to take the word “but” out of your vocabulary. Stop making excuses and start taking action. Make the things that you say are important in your life a priority. 

Eat Healthy
The whole idea of eating healthy is to imagine food as fuel for your body. In order to perform at your best, you need to provide high-quality fuel in the form of healthy foods. You also need to pay close attention to what you feed your mind. 

•    Are you making time to read every day, and if so, what are you reading? 
•    What do you listen to while commuting in your vehicle? Are you taking advantage of the commute time and listening to audio books? 
•    With whom are you hanging out? 
     o    Are you spending time with positive role models and mentors, people committed to continual improvement and the pursuit of excellence? 
     o    Are you hanging out with the whining, sniveling malcontents, the energy vampires and the dream stealers? 

One last key aspect of eating healthy is that we need to stop eating our own. Despite the continual talk of the thin blue line and how we will risk our lives for our brother and sister officers, as a culture, law enforcement officers are also very quick to turn on each other. We are quick to criticize, to judge and to trash-talk other officers, often with limited information about the actual incident. The time has come to stop eating our own and stop the judging and the criticizing that have become so prevalent. 

Be More Active
Get active in your agency. Focus on being a problem solver and not just a problem identifier. Get involved in training. Take responsibility for your own training. Make 10 minutes a day to train your skills, tactics and knowledge. 

Get actively involved in mentoring officers in your agency. Get active in the community and become a mentor and role model. And get physically active. We are losing way too many cops every year to heart attacks — so get active, get in shape, and develop a high level of functional strength and fitness.  

What are you willing to commit to in 2014? Decide, and then write it down. Share it with an accountability partner, or better yet, share it with your team or squad and encourage them to do the same.

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