Today’s Editorial December 31: Resolving to improve

Some people show disdain for New Year’s resolutions on the premise that if one wants – or needs – to make important changes in life, he or she should be able to make them anytime of the year, not just on the first of January.

Many of us, however, like to have some sort of significant starting point when making such important changes, and the beginning of the new year – with its promise of new hope and a fresh start- seems appropriate. That’s why we have New Year’s resolutions and not the Ides of March resolutions or Remembrance Day resolutions.

Even though statistics tell us more than half of the people who make New Year’s resolutions will abandon them before the end of January, it is still an annual ritual for about half of the population to make those resolutions.

Just the making of those resolutions is an important step because it requires some critical reflection of one’s state of being. Our resolutions, more often than not, seek to correct something in ourselves that we feel we should change. This is a good thing; as accepted wisdom dictates, the first step in solving any problem is acknowledging – or defining – the problem.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions concerning their health, such as to quit smoking, lose weight, get fit; others make resolutions concerning their finances, such as to spend less and save more; some people resolve to improve their relationships, whether they be with spouse, partner, children or friends. Still others resolve to do things to improve the quality of their lives, possibly by just taking more time to actually enjoy it.

One key to making a resolution that you can actually stick to is to make it realistically obtainable. While some vices, such as smoking, require abstinence to be effective, others might only require reduction to be of great benefit.

Goal setting can be another big help in sticking to a resolution. If you want to lose weight, define how much you want to lose and work toward that goal through exercise and diet. If you resolve to spend more time with your family, identify a day and maybe some activities you can do with your family on that day.

Whether you make a New Year’s resolution or not, we hope everyone strives for self-improvement in 2008 in any case. With the challenges we face as a society now and in the coming years, we can use all the improvements we can get.

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