A year can be a long time to keep a promise
New Year’s resolutions are not as popular as they once were, possibly because only 9 percent of the people who make them actually keep their resolve.
Data on Statistic Brain indicates an equal proportion of Americans — about 40 percent — either usually make resolutions or never make resolutions.
A year is a long time to keep a change in focus, and maintaining resolve through an extended period means changing more than one aspect of our lives, one Marietta fitness instructor said.
Cat Bigley, who in addition to running a business and having involvements in several civic organizations, also teaches yoga and tai chi, said she takes a philosophical approach to resolutions.
“I hate that depression that comes in February and March, after you’ve cleared away the holidays, taken the tree down,” she said. “New Year’s Day this year is a Monday and I find that very cleansing. Mondays are a good thing, and I try to teach people how to set their intentions based on the day, the week, even ask yourself ‘What can I accomplish in the next hour?’ Long term goals are just unattainable for most people.”
Short term goals are both more attainable and more rewarding, she said, while long term goals are often disappointing because there are so many variables that can intervene between the original intention and the accomplishment.
“You have to have the right kind of support system, and people to hold you accountable,” she said. “Without that support system, you go back to your old habits. Being in the same office, following the same schedule encourages the same habits. Bigger changes have to happen in your whole world.”
“Every Monday, you could start with, ‘What is my short term goal?’ and if you do it, give yourself a gold star,” she said.
Marietta City Schools Superintendent Will Hampton is also taking a wider, more philosophical approach to 2018. Vacationing with family in southern Ohio, Hampton said Friday he wants to get into the habit of taking a longer view of life.
“I just want to think more about what’s ahead rather than being a prisoner of the moment,” he said. “This is a good time to think about what you want to accomplish in the year, take inventory of where you are and where you’d like to be.”
Even ways of thinking involve breaking old habits and forming new ones. Hampton said he’d heard that it takes 28 days to break an old habit and form a new one.
“If you can stick with something for 28 days, that’s usually a good sign,” he said.
Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews said his primary goal for 2018 is for him to improve his health, and his wife to do the same.
“Next year has got to be a better place,” he said Friday. “And I wish everyone else to have better health … health, wealth and happiness for everyone.”
On Friday, Ken and Cathy Bowes were wandering through the Lafayette Hotel, visitors from Columbus taking in the historic decor for the first time. Both said they weren’t big on resolutions but have some goals for 2018.
“I’d like to take off a few pounds,” Ken said. “I’ve tried in the past.”
“We both have,” Cathy said.
Heather Sands, general manager of Valley Gem sternwheel cruises, was readying the cabin Friday for a New Year’s Eve cruise. She declared herself to be among the more than 40 percent of Americans in regard to one thing.
“I don’t make New Year’s resolutions,” she said.
At a glance
Top 5 New Year’s resolutions for 2017
¯ Lose weight, eat healthier.
¯ Self improvement, general.
¯ Better financial decisions.
¯ Quit smoking.
¯ Do things that are exciting.