Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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January 12, 2013

Making a resolution in 2013? Good luck with all that

ATHENS — Were you one of the many Americans who made a New Year’s resolution this year?

Are you still following through with the resolution, or have you already decided to break it and try again next year?

I know it’s only been a couple of weeks and I am sure many of you have already broken the resolution you promised yourself at the beginning of the year.

I think the whole idea of New Year’s resolutions is silly, but I am sure there are many people out there who consider them important each and every year.

A resolution is one of those commitments a person makes to achieve one or more personal goals or projects, or it helps a person find ways to try to break a bad habit.

When I was a kid, I would always make the same resolution of learning a new skill or trying to become better at a sport.

During my junior high years, I would decide I wanted to become a better athlete and would participate in every sport I could. The only problem with my plan was I never had the skill set of an athlete.

In my teen-age years, I thought a resolution was way too difficult to come up with and stressful at the same time.

Once I made my way to the high school ranks, I knew my resolution would never work out the way I wanted it to, so I decided it was time for a new resolution.

One problem with my goals is I always break them because I never think of a new resolution I want to pursue every year.

A lot of people will make their normal resolutions such as needing to lose weight, getting in better shape, quitting smoking or getting out of debt.

As Americans we know about a week or two after setting those goals, something forces us to do exactly what we have done in the past.

We hear friends and family every New Year’s Eve say, “This year, we are going to eat whatever we want today and then start our diet tomorrow.”

One problem automatically comes to mind: They never start the plan in the first place.

A lot of people have set their goals and then come back to me and say, “Why did I do that? There was no way I would be able to accomplish that in the time frame I set out for myself.”

One study by the University of Scranton showed almost half of all Americans make one or more resolutions each year.

Of the people who make those resolutions, the same study showed 75 percent of people keep them past the first week, 71 percent keep them for two weeks and 64 percent of resolutions are still maintained after one month.

Also, people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t make resolutions.

I am not saying people should not make goals for themselves, but if you are going to make them, they should be attainable.

It’s easy to prove in a study how resolutions are kept, but for those friends I come into contact with, those figures just don’t seem to add up in the long run.

We seem to always make a goal, and then someone is there to support us, but we still find some way to make sure our goal backfires on us.

Finally, you have a friend who says, “Hey, I am going to help you achieve this goal of losing 20 pounds in three months.”

You start by working hard with weights and cardio training and then you stumble during the process.

You cave in and head for the donuts instead of your morning shake or the pizza instead of the salad.

After a couple of weeks of serious workout, the friend then decides to see if they can make you break your resolution by offering you your favorite food.

You then decide you don’t want to sacrifice your favorite foods for a better body so you cave in and decide to try it again next year.

If you have set a resolution for 2013 and you are still working toward it, congratulations.

Maybe by the end of the year, you can prove to all of the doubters you can succeed.

Joe Elerson is a staff writer for the Athens Review.

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