The excitement of Christmas is over for most people and we face the new year with blank pages in our Book of Life.
The desire to succeed and achieve at the start of a new year, secretly or otherwise, has been going on for years. New year resolutions come in many shapes and forms, are personal, and some, achievable.
A quick Google search reveals a list of most popular resolutions on www.usa.gov/citizen/topics/New-Years-Resolutions.shtml. From most popular to least the list includes: drink less alcohol; eat healthy food; get a better education; get a better job; get fit; lose weight; manage debt; manage stress; quit smoking; reduce/reuse/recycle; save money; take a trip; and volunteer to help others.
Another website, www.statisticbrain.com, reveals that 45 percent of Americans usually make new year’s resolutions but only 8 percent are successful in achieving them. Through research, they also found that 39 percent of people in their 20s achieve their resolutions but only 14 percent of people 50 and older reach their goals.
On www.registercitizen.com there are a variety of reasons why we don’t achieve the new year resolutions we so heartily make. First on the list is “I have no time,” followed by “I can’t seem to stay motivated.” These two excuses, alone, seem to be motivators for the authors of self-help books.
A few North Country residents were asked if they made New Year’s resolutions. There seems to be a mix of resolutions and good intentions because some don’t make resolutions; they just act to make our world a better place.
Diane Lagree, 71, Town of Clinton historian and community outreach worker for JCEO in Churubusco, said as she gets older she hopes to be a better person.
“I find I get impatient with people and I am aware of that and want to change. Being historian for the town, I’d like to do a better job in 2014 than I did last year.”
Maria Alexander, 49, executive director of the Senior Citizens Council of Clinton County, has a goal.
“Honestly, I don’t usually make resolutions each year. I do, however, really want to finish redoing my kitchen at home and reorganize my office at work. I also want to spend more of my time giving back to my community.”
Don McBrayer, 51, who lives in Peru and is owner of Don Yo DJ Service & Website Design and a carpet installer by occupation, has a positive outlook daily.
“I don’t really make new year’s resolutions. Any day is a perfect day to make a positive change. Be kind, be forgiving and know that no one is perfect — including yourself. Life is too short and precious to fret the petty things.”
Westport Town Clerk Sheila Borden, 64, remembers that some of her resolutions didn’t work out but she still makes one.
“I want to make sure that my attitude is such that I make others feel good and they have a good day because of it.”
Pat Manchester, town supervisor in Fort Covington, 64, said she used to make resolutions when she was younger but not anymore.
“Most of my resolutions were to eat healthier when I was younger, and I even joined Weight Watchers but that only lasted until March. Is there any energy left (at my age) to think about resolutions?”
Maria Burke, 30, director of Literacy Volunteers in Essex and Franklin Counties, hopes to connect the past and future with her resolution.
“I recently began recording personal experiences and stories from my 96-year-old grandmother, who emigrated from Holland in 1956 with my grandfather and their eight children. My new year’s resolution is to successfully compile their experiences into a book of family history.”
Ann Brady of Westville, 45, a paralegal at Fischer Bessette Muldowney and Hunter in Malone, said she makes resolutions but is still thinking for 2014.
“I do make resolutions. I have not made one yet for 2014. I have not always been successful with my resolutions. I used to say ‘I will quit drinking soda,’ which I am proud to say, I gave up five years ago. Now, I have an occasional soda, but as a rule, I mostly stick to water. So that was a major accomplishment. However, I stopped saying I would simply quit things or take up exercising. Now, most of my resolutions revolve around trying to be a better person and change how I treat other people.”
Press-Republican newsroom staff shared their resolutions for the New Year, or, in some cases, the fact they don't make "resolutions" but have set their minds and hearts on a goal.
Joe LoTemplio: "This year I resolve to put the cover on the pool. It's nearly New Year's and I still haven't been able to get the cover on the pool. The water is all frozen and covered with snow, but I am waiting for that mid-winter thaw, and then I will throw the black plastic blanket over it. Or, I could just leave it and deal with it in the spring. That's what usually happens with my New Year's resolutions."
Robin Caudell: "I don't do New Year's resolutions. I think it's because of the wisdom of my late grandmother, Lula Annie Thomas Butler. Born in 1909, she lived to be 100 years old, four months and 12 days. Her longevity speaks for itself, so she knew something about living gracefully on the planet. She didn't make New Year's resolutions either. She said, "What you do on New Year's Eve sets the tone for the rest of the year. She read her black-leather King James Holy Bible and made New Year's Day feast preparations such as baking Great-Aunt Katie's gingerbread recipe and sweet-potato pie.
So, I give serious thought to what activities I want to be engaged in or not. I prefer a quiet evening at home reading an English classic, Austen or Bronte, or watch Sean Connery as "Bond, James Bond" with a big mug of hot chocolate. "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "It's A Wonderful Life" will be in this year's lineup as well as "Sex and the City: The Movie." There's nothing like unwinding with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda.
One year, I got a pile of clothes that needed mending and attached a button here or sewed a rip there throughout the movie-marathon night. It was about thrift, about making do with what I have, something that resonates with a lot of people in similar straits.
I keep my Maryland tradition of a New Year's Day lucky meal of which black-eyed peas are the centerpiece. The evening before, the peas go in to soak in a big, glass bowl. By morning, they are puffed and ready to go into the crock pot. I sauté garlic, celery and Vidalia onions and put into the pot. Then, I throw in shredded carrots and smoked turkey wings for flavor. My grandmother was soul-food basic. It was just a big pot of black peas with three or four fat ham hocks, and that was it. Collard greens and cornbread baked in a cast-iron skillet round out the meal and promise good luck throughout the New Year." Rob Fountain: "Me, and my wife, Wendy, are going to juice fast starting New Year's Day so we can both lose 20 pounds."
Suzanne Moore: "I very much think of the new year as a jumping-off point for making changes in my life.
For a long time, I would list my resolutions in the journal I happened to be keeping then; I tended to repeat the same ones every year, though lost a little faith each time I didn't make them happen.
They have always focused on organizing my house and keeping it clean, writing and having a book published and spending more time with family. That last one I made happen late in the lives of my maternal grandmother and paternal grandparents, and of the three, it was by far the most fulfilling and important.
One of my most precious memories is, as I'd back out of my grandparents' driveway (usually with my daughter Shelby, who embraced any opportunity to spend time with them), seeing my grandfather, Maynard Brown -- Bumpa -- waving to us in the picture window.
Another is, one Christmas season, as Shelby and I visited my grandmother, Marie Tremblay, and my aunt, Pauline Brindisi, showed up in a Santa suit with gifts for all. That's a priceless memory for Nanny struggled so much with her health those last years, and this was something that brought her real joy (me, too).
Looks like my house won't be magazine-perfect in 2014 either (or even close to it), but that doesn't really matter. Family does, and what I'll resolve is to remember that and make more of those memories."