Resolutions for 2011

Published 2:58 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Years ago, I quit making most of my resolutions public in the hopes that my success rate would be better. Alas, the number of resolutions successfully completed remained near zero.

This year I thought I would see what other people resolve to improve or change in the coming year.

The No. 1 resolution is to spend more time with family and friends. Well, that remains at the top of my list as well. It is one item that I hope I have improved in over the past couple of years. Work shouldn’t always come first.

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No. 2 on everyone’s list seems relate to fitness. This is the one I always have on my personal list but it never seems to get done. Research tells us in many different ways that physical fitness is directly related to our longevity and health. Maybe this will be the year.

No. 3 is tied to No. 2 and that is winning the battle of the bulge. Statistics say that more than 66 percent of adult Americans are now considered overweight or obese. That number continues to grow and is considered a national problem. Those that stick to this resolution usually do it by setting reasonable goals and staying focused. Sounds easier than I have found it to be.

Quitting smoking is always a popular New Year’s resolution. This is one that I absolutely licked 30 years ago. The pack of cigarettes I threw off the bridge at the Chattahoochee River is the last I ever bought. Cigarettes later killed my father, so there isn’t any chance I will relapse on this one.

Many resolve to enjoy life more. This is a resolution I am getting better at doing. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy life before, but as you age you realize how short life is. My bucket list is full of things I still want to see and do. Having grandchildren come into my life has made this easier.

With resolutions being made the day after New Year’s Eve, quitting drinking is a popular choice. It is a drastic lifestyle change for many and most do better by tapering off. However, quitting cold turkey is often the only way for many. Resources are available for those who need to achieve this resolution for their family and their health.

Get out of debt is something you hear more of in these troubled economic times. Easy credit has gotten many a person in trouble and now that credit has tightened, families are finding the going tough. There are a lot of resources online or at the library that can help you with this problem. Not worrying so much about the next month’s bills can bring a lot of peace in your life.

A popular resolution that I haven’t heard often is to learn something new. This often means just getting out of a rut for some people. Take a class, read a book or fix something that has been broken. Our own local community colleges offer life enrichment and continuing education courses. Learning should be a lifelong habit.

It is easy at this time of year to see so many people less fortunate than you, no matter what your own circumstances. There are many ways that you can help others if that is one of your resolutions. You can volunteer at the local hospital or library. If you don’t have time to give, then donate food, clothing or furniture to those in need. There are so many ways you can help and you’ll feel good about yourself at the same time.

Getting organized is a resolution that I never seem to achieve. Anyone who has seen my desk can testify to my opportunities in this area. I simply resolve to be able to find a stapler or a blue pen when I want it in the coming year. That will be an improvement.

The celebration of New Year’s Day is the oldest of all holidays. It started 4,000 B.C. in ancient Babylon. The tradition of a New Year’s resolution also dates back to the Babylonians, only they didn’t promise to lose weight or quit smoking. Their most common resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. In my early days when farming was part of my livelihood, I had evidence that this was still a problem some 6,000 years later.

My whole life I have eaten black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day to bring good luck in the coming year. Most people we know down here in the Deep South say they must be cooked with hog jowls or ham. Most people I know on the West Coast wouldn’t know what a hog jowl is. Others in this area like “Hoppin’ John” as a lucky food. Some eat cabbage or rice.

Following all of the problems we had in 2010, I am inclined to applaud Oprah Winfrey’s comment, “Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” And if we don’t seem to get it right, we can take heed to the toast of Joey Adams who said, “May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.”