It is New Year’s Resolution time.  Everyone makes them; most people break them.  We discussed New Year’s Resolutions last year about this time, and you can read or listen to my article titled Four Tips for Keeping Resolutions by clicking this text.  What if you took a different approach to your 2020 New Year’s Resolutions?  What if you focused on your mindset and approach to life rather than diet, healthy lifestyle, finances, or some other resolution?  What is if you adopted some or all of 12 Unique New Year’s Resolutions from a Caldera in Hawaii?

You might be asking: what is a Caldera and what can I learn from it?  You might be wondering if old Tommy Cakes drank too much or smoked something funny over in Hawaii.  Trust me, my friends, I am completely sober and drug-free, and I will explain everything if you stick with me.

In this post and 160th Episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast, I am going to briefly discuss our wonderful trip to Hawaii, define a Caldera, discuss the 12 Unique New Year’s Resolutions from a Caldera, and walk through a practical application of these Resolutions in your own life.

101,500 Downloads of the Small Scale Life Podcast!

Before I get into today’s topic, I wanted to thank each and every one of you for listening to the Small Scale Life Podcast.  During our vacation, we shattered 100,000 downloads, and the downloads have been rising dramatically!  Thank you, one and all, for listening to the show!

We are not getting paid for this show, nor do we receive donations.  It is a labor of love, and we enjoy bringing you this content.

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Thank you, one and all!


Our Trip to Hawaii


Julie and I just returned from a glorious and spectacular trip to The Big Island in Hawaii.  We left December 26th and returned home on January 4th.  We have never taken a vacation this long before, and we have never gone to such a beautiful and exquisite place!

During this trip, Julie and I explored beaches (including a green sand beach which is one of four in the world), snorkeled, saw 3 humpback whales, saw see turtles up close and personal, explored Pearl Harbor Memorial, toured the USS Missouri, saw a sea arch at sunset, ate local food, visited the Volcano Winery, toured 2 Kona Coffee Farms and hiked in the Volcano National Park. As part of our hike, we hiked across the Kilauea Iki Crater (a lava flow from 1959) and looked into the Kilauea Caldera.  We even went deep sea fishing on my birthday (my first fishing excursion in 2020)!  Welcome to active vacationing, right?

Julie and I loved our trip to The Big Island.  We had such a good time in Hawaii, and we highly recommend taking the long plane ride.  There is a lot to see and do on The Big Island, and the beauty of Hawaii is just amazing. If you have a chance, go!


What is a Caldera?


Before going to Hawaii and seeing one, I had no idea what a caldera was.  I even took a geology class in college, but I couldn’t remember anything about calderas!  So, off to Wikipedia I went and found the following information:

“A caldera is a large cauldron-like hollow that forms shortly after the magma chamber/reservoir in a volcanic eruption.  Although sometimes described as a crater (and it looked like a crater when we were at the overlook and looking into the void), the feature is actually a type of sinkhole.  It is formed through subsistence (sinking or settling) and collapse rather than explosive events.  This is due to the lack of silica and presence of basaltic rock.”

On the Big Island, the caldera was active until 2018.  During the eruption of 2018, the magma levels in the Kilauea Caldera dropped 1000 feet, and the caldera collapsed.  Magma in the Kilauea Caldera flowed out in fissures along the rift zones near the coast, forcing evacuations and covering everything in its path.  When the magma levels dropped low enough, the Kilauea Caldera exploded and collapsed into itself.  The explosion sent a plume 30,000 feet into the sky on May 17, 2018, and the Kilauea Caldera stopped erupting for the first time in 35 years.




12 Unique New Year’s Resolutions from a Caldera

Believe it or not, you can learn a lot from a Volcano.  As Julie and I gazed into the void of the Kilauea Caldera, it occurred to me just how powerful Mother Nature (or Pele in this case) can be, and how small we actually are.  

We stood hundreds of feet above the Caldera on an overlook, and we watched as the vents continued to steam away.  Things continue to happen under the surface on The Big Island even though the Caldera collapsed in on itself.  Locals and researchers continue to watch seismic activity near the south end of the island, which has had 4025 earthquakes in the past year! 

Even in  this seemingly inhospitable landscape and environment, there is life.  There are birds, insects, trees, grasses, plants and flowers (like delicate orchids) growing on old lava flows and near steam vents and sulfur vents.  It is amazing to me that these creatures and plants can grow in this kind of environment.  Nature does find a way, doesn’t she?

By looking into the history of the Kilauea Caldera, seeing some pithy points in the Volcano House and reflecting on our journey back to the mainland, I compiled the following list of 12 Unique New Year’s Resolutions from a Caldera.  Yes, some of these are very tongue-in-cheek, but as you think about them, you will see the overall point.  Trust me: I had about 12 hours of flight time to consider these points since I couldn’t sleep on any of the planes!


Mindset, Unique New Years Resolutions


Improving Mindset in 2020


These Resolutions might be more advice for the New Year.  That is a fair observation.  However, I think we need to look at our current mindset and improve it in 2020.  We often get stuck in ruts and our everyday routines.  We fear change.  We fear taking those steps to improve our lives.  We fear the struggle required to improve.

  • There might be pain.
  • There might be hard work.
  • There might be struggle.
  • There might be failures. 

If you take the Unique New Year’s Resolutions and put them into practice, your path might not be easy or struggle-free.  However, I believe you will see change in your own life, with your friends and family, at your workplace, and/or in your community.  

You can be an agent of change, but you have to make up your mind and act.

What do I mean?  What do these Unique New Year’s Resolutions look like in real life?

Putting the 12 Unique New Year’s Resolutions into Practice


What if you took some or all of the 12 Unique New Year’s Resolutions and put them into practice in your own life? 

Let’s create a theoretical example.  What if you took on a new project at work in 2020 and worked hard at it? 

I am in this position as we begin the New Year and new decade.  An opportunity to learn and do something outside my comfort zone has appeared to me at my job.  Last week, I am pushed the “GO” button and started this process.  I am starting a new journey inside my current job, and I am going outside my comfort zone.  Here’s how it looks for me.  I’ll be your guinea pig for this example.


I am not an expert in this field.  I have some limited experience with it, and it has been an area where I have failed in the past.  I pushed the fear down, got fired up and rose to the occasion.  I wrote an e-mail and pushed the “GO” button after mulling it over and weighing the options. 

I know it won’t be easy, and I am going to encounter challenges and obstacles.  My skill level is the first obstacle that I will need be overcome.  I will need to find a way to burn through these challenges with red hot intensity or find a way around the obstacle. This includes learning new skills (reading, talking to experts or taking classes).  Good thing I am getting some training in a couple months.

As we get into it, I might need to bring in an expert or extra help, i.e., using gravity and building on momentum (my easy buttons).  It’s a good thing I know a few experts in this subject.  That comes from being active in my field for years, making those critical connections.  I have a network in this community that I have been a part of for years (building community goes beyond homesteading and gardening).  Sometimes you lend a hand; sometimes you need a hand. 

Challenges will present themselves and be difficult.  I will struggle.  I will get frustrated and will need to vent.  Don’t be like the old me and hold all the stress inside; that isn’t healthy.  Ask me how I know!

By working through the process, I should come out the other side and show people what I are made of.  I will make a big impression as I successfully learn something in the process, take the reigns from an older gentleman and become our agency’s expert. 

At the same time, I will have started to change the world around me.  This could be a pilot program that rolls out across the country.  It would improve our inspections and safety at railroad crossings.  That is could be a big improvement!

Again, whatever you are facing doesn’t have to be monumental, but you will have an impact where you are.

I will probably work pretty hard on this effort this year.  With blogs, podcasts and this effort underway, I will need to rest at some point.  I will make sure to take that rest in December 2020.  I will need to collapse at some point, or my body will make me collapse. 

I will be proactive and go on vacation; I will have earned it! 


Does that make sense?  See how this works? 

Let’s Begin


Growth comes after we struggle and experience failure. It does not come from setting the same old tired resolutions and then merely consuming content.  Those things are fine, but in the end, you have to step forward, try and DO.  You cannot grow or be better everyday unless you try.  That is the first step.

Rise to the occasion, Lifers!  Be spectacular!  Start to change the world around you today!

After all, the only one stopping you is….you.


Let’s get after it in 2020, Lifers!


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Mindset, Unique New Years Resolutions

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