Houston 101

New Year's Resolutions for Houstonians

Time to make peace with traffic in 2023.
Time to make peace with traffic in 2023. Photo by Doogie Roux
Listen, no one likes New Year's resolutions. Maybe someone does, but we haven't met them and we aren't sure we want to. The act of even contemplating them each year is a chore and, often times, a not-so-subtle jab at your own self esteem (and waistline).

But, here's a novel approach (we think it is anyway). Why not join your fellow Houstonians in making some resolutions for everyone who lives here? Consider it as a way to collectively better ourselves in a city that is already pretty damn awesome!

Learn to live with the weather.

Hurricanes? Check. Freezes? Check. Flooding? Double check. Torturous heat? Triple check. We've got it all! Unfortunately, no one ever seems to be happy with any of it. Admittedly, hurricanes suck and ERCOT has turned freezing weather into a kind of a local winter Hunger Games. But, as the saying goes, "If you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait." We know what to expect. We've been through virtually everything Mother Nature can fling at us. Now, it's simply time to accept our lots in life and find a way to live through (perhaps even happily at times) Houston weather. That or rent a house in the Rocky Mountains and work remotely from July 15 until October 1.

Find alternate traffic routes and transportation options.

Traffic is always on the top of our list of problems in Houston. It's a nuisance and seemingly never ending. The West Loop re-construction is in something like year three of seven years and we've already nearly come to blows with fellow drivers on multiple occasions. Time for us to adjust to the fact that we are in a MASSIVE city, physically and population-wise. That comes with downfalls like loads and loads of cars on the road. There are those who will argue that we should simply shift to public transportation and we are ALL for alternative means of transportation, but the car/traffic problem isn't getting solved overnight. So, start looking for alternate routes; consider Park and Ride or light rail when available; maybe even hop on a bike and test out the hundreds of miles of hike and bike paths; remote work whenever possible. We need to start working on our traffic solutions in a myriad number of ways and many of them start with you.

Give nature a try.

Speaking of biking, Houston is an underrated outdoor city. The heat makes us all feel like exploring nature is basically impossible for six months out of the year, but it is simply untrue. The city has made massive, multi-billion-dollar commitment to bettering Houston parks and expanding greenspace across the entire region. There are lakes and shorelines and bird sanctuaries and nature preserves and national forests and all manner of wildlife literally within miles of where we live. If you aren't taking advantage of it, you absolutely should. It might help you with personal resolutions like losing weight in the process.

Be prepared.

Often, struggles that happen come from a lack of being prepared mixed with a weather disaster. When hurricanes arrive, we don't know what to do and rush out to get bottled water and toilet paper, instead of making sure our flood insurance is up to date and we are ready for a potential flood. Being ahead of the weather is a key to not just surviving it, but getting through it comfortably. And when the real danger does arrive, you'll be ready.

Get to know your neighbors.

Houston is an incredibly friendly city. People who move here are often perplexed by the way we speak to strangers in line at the grocery store. But, do we react the same to those who live near us? We should. Yes, there can be awful neighbors who make living nearly impossible, but there are also good souls who are willing to help when needed. It is the power of that togetherness that has helped us weather some of our most difficult times as a city. If you don't know those who live near you, introduce yourself. You don't have to make a new best friend, but you might.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke