It is like the old saying goes: new year, new you. For many, throwing out the old 2012 calendar is akin to wiping the slate clean, making it the perfect time to set goals and make New Year's resolutions for the coming year.
The practice of making New Year's resolutions is actually older than the modern calendar. According to history.com, the tradition dates back around 4,000 years to ancient Babylonians who made promises to the gods in order to stay in their good graces throughout the year.
The tradition held strong throughout the centuries and has resulted in the modern view of Jan. 1 as a fresh start and a time of goal setting.
It is not surprising then that many area residents have already set an array of diverse goals, from getting more accomplished, to spending more time with loved ones, to the old standards of health and fitness.
"I'd like to be more organized and to finish up several projects that I have going," said Marietta resident Kim Cisler.
Specifically, Cisler knits and does cross stitching. To help her focus on her goal, Cisler sat down a few nights ago and listed specific projects she hopes to tackle this year.
At a glance
Top ten New Year's resolutions for 2013
1. Eat healthy and exercise regularly
2. Drink less
3. Learn something new
4. Quit smoking
5. Better balance between work and life
7. Save money
8. Get organized
9. Read more
10. Finish around the house "to-do" lists
"I made a list of about 40 projects I'd like to finish," she said.
It might seem like a daunting list, but Cisler said she set a similar goal last year and did fairly well at accomplishing it.
"I have gotten organized, but I've got a ways to go still," she said.
For 15-year-old Frontier High School student Shawn Lauderman, his schoolwork is a priority this upcoming year.
"I want to keep up my grades in school," he said.
However, good grades might be an easier task to accomplish than Lauderman's other goal for the new year.
"I want to get my dog to take a bath," he said.
Easier said than done when your dog is a feisty Rottweiler, said Lauderman.
Health related New Year's resolutions are often among the most popular goals.
That is the case for Karen McCormick-Reed, 52, of Williamstown.
"I'm going to try to quit smoking," said McCormick-Reed.
Though she successfully quit smoking 23 years ago when she had her twins, McCormick-Reed picked up the habit again later in life. However, this is the year to finally kick the habit.
As for the method, "I'm going to go cold turkey," she said.
Marietta resident Sandra Nicholas hopes to focus on her health this year, too.
"It's the same as always. Just to be healthier and thinner," said Nicholas, adding, "I hope this is gonna be the year."
According to Jennifer Deem, owner and instructor at Marietta Boot Camp, her Pike Street fitness facility often sees an influx in January.
"You get this brand new year, and it's the perfect time to start getting fit," said Deem.
For those setting goals of exercise and weight loss, the most important thing is to find activities that you love doing and stick with them, said Deem.
"If it's not fun, you're not going to stick with it," she said.
In addition, it helps to have a good support network, which can include family, friends, or simply fellow students from fitness classes, said Deem.
Finally, it is important to set little goals so you can see the progress being made.
"Focus on the little goals, and you'll eventually get to the big goal," she added.
Focusing on specific, measurable achievements is not reserved for those aspiring to fitness goals either.
For example, Marietta resident Matt Stoneking, 36, gets plenty of feedback from 2-year-old son Cameron on how to achieve his goal.
"I want to spend more time with my family this year," said Matt.
Luckily, that fits in nicely with Cameron's goal for the year.
"Go to the zoo!" he said excitedly before performing a convincing monkey impersonation.
But not everyone gets as excited about the prospect of New Year's resolutions.
According to a 2002 study by the University of Scranton, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38 percent of Americans never make New Year's resolutions and 17 percent infrequently make them.
Marietta resident Tracey Smith, 41, falls into that category.
"I don't make them cause I usually break them," said Smith.
She is not alone. According to the same study, only eight percent of Americans are fully successful in achieving their resolution throughout the year.
For some, it is enough to have a dream in mind and let the chips fall where they may.
That is the mindset of Daniel Stout, 64, of Lowell.
"I want to go get rich," said Stout.
Just last week, Stout and his wife won $600 playing the penny machines in Williamstown.
"You have good days, and you have bad days," said Stout.
Though Stout said he is looking forward to the new year and turning 65 in February, he already looking ahead to the 2014 new year.
"When I'm 66, my fishing license will only cost me ten bucks," joked Stout.