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PAINTER: New Year’s resolutions can be kept if they are realistic

• Jan 14, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Did you make New Year’s resolutions for 2019?

Many of us do after the holidays are over, as we want to lose those extra pounds gained from holiday feasts and be healthier. Losing weight and exercising are two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, according to experts. Then we have people vowing to get better organized, quit smoking, get more organized and save more money.

Unfortunately, most of us fail to keep our resolutions, according to the experts.

I enjoy making resolutions. Through the years, like many others, I have vowed to save more money and be more organized.

But, like many people, those resolutions never saw the light of day. I haven’t saved more money and I certainly am not more organized. I am who I am and won’t change.

So, why do we bother to make New Year’s resolutions in the first place? According to an article written by Shanna Yehlen for mentalfloss.com, the New Year’s resolutions tradition began 4,000 years ago in Babylon when the Babylonians would make promises in the new year to get on the right side of their gods. The tradition continued on with the Romans when Caesar declared Jan. 1 as the first day of the year to honor the god of a new beginning.

I guess I never have given much thought about how the tradition started. I do know there are a lot of people who make resolutions and vow to follow through with them. Unfortunately, most do not. Yehlen wrote that only 9.2 percent of people are successful in sticking with their resolution.

Perhaps that explains why such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey no longer make New Year’s resolutions. Winfrey, in a story for People’s Magazine, was quoted on the “Rachael Ray Show” as saying, “The real truth for me is I have actually learned the great joy of being in the present moment.”

Some people suggest that we would be better off setting modest goals instead of unrealistic resolutions. MaryEllen Tribby, founder and CEO of WorkingMomsOnly.com, believes that we should set goals that are with us every day. She suggests that we start small and have commitment to every action. “We bite off big chunks that are not realistic,” she wrote. “Throw away the resolutions and think about what you should be doing.”

What she says makes a lot of sense. I once had a publisher ask me to write some goals for the newspaper for the coming year. I wrote down some goals and stuck the list in my desk drawer. After a year I reviewed those goals. While I didn’t fulfill all of those goals, it did provide guidelines for trying to improve our product.

The same could be done for anyone else. We often see a flood of new members at our local fitness centers. A few months later, those new members drop out. Perhaps if they set lower expectations, they may be more successful in their endeavors.

I don’t make resolutions or set goals to exercise more or to watch my weight. I already do those things because, as I grow older, I know how important exercise and diet are to my well-being.

I do have one wish, though. I hope I can get through 2019 without breaking any more bones. Last year, I broke my hip, and in past years I’ve broken my nose, hand, shoulder blade and ribs.

So, I am going to try to stay as healthy as I can.

If you made resolutions for 2019, I hope you are able to reach your goals. Remember to keep those resolutions realistic, and have a happy and prosperous new year.

— By Len Painter, Tribune community columnist

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