Life resolutions

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:59 AM

There's something in the human spirit that craves renewal. And the start of a new year is a popular hinge pin for change.

But talking about change and actually making it are two different strains of confetti.

Psychotherapist Sarah Lewakowski, executive director of Tri-Cities Ministries in Grand Haven, said she always sees an uptick in patients at the beginning of a new year.

“Fresh starts are in nature,” she said. “We see renewal outside our windows. Even if it's not an official one, I think people like resolutions. There's something symbolic about beginning the new year with fresh goals.”

Popular resolutions center on weight loss, exercise, finances, changing habits such as smoking or gambling, improving marital relationships or friendships, and spending more time with family.

Jason Epplett, director of the Spring Lake Fitness and Aquatic Center, said he typically sees a 5-10 percent increase in membership soon after New Year's Day. But not all with good intentions stick to their plan.

“Usually, for 6-8 weeks, there's a climb in usage — then it starts to decline,” said Epplett, who recommends trying group exercise classes or hiring a personal trainer to help stay on track.

Lewakowski estimates a 50/50 chance of resolution success.

New Year's Day isn't the only appropriate day to make changes, Lewakowski said — spring is also a season of renewal. She suggests considering “family” resolutions — such as everyone vowing to spend more time together, or encouraging each other to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Lewakowski makes New Year's resolutions of her own. Last year, she resolved to complete a writing project. She broke it down into manageable chunks and made good on her promise.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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