Letter from the editor: A thought on New Year’s resolutions, done right

A couple times a week, I’ll get to set down the pen and paper, so to speak, and unwind with one of my favorite past times: video games. That might be a little facetious of me to say, because it’s more than just kicking back, popping in Call of Duty and burning up my retinas. 

For me, it’s a way to stay connected with old friends. There’s four of us who are really close – best, best friends, you could say. And we all inhabit one of four time zones on the continuous United States. That makes our conversations and playing time pretty strained. But, we do get together every now and again. 

A while back when we were playing, we began talking about our New Year’s resolutions. At first, it was a joke. I plan to play more video games, or I plan to sleep more; take more naps or eat more snow. Silly, not at all serious in a way. 

And then I joked a little about lifting at the gym more. I’m a runner, and haven’t pumped any iron in years. Aside from the core workouts I did when it was 60-plus degrees, I really don’t do much muscle strength.

Boy, did that spark a discussion.

Those three friends are avid lifters. In the gym five to six times a week. More or less simply because they enjoy it. And if there’s anything they dislike more every year, it’s the New Year resolution-ers.

They explained, people hoping to make that New Year’s change always swarm in with new memberships, take up the machines, don’t do things right —whatever that means — and leave things not the way they found them. 

It was more about the inconvenience than the fact that more than 90 percent of people fail to uphold their New Year’s resolutions, according to a Forbes Magazine article.

Statisticbrain.com, a site designed to look at market research and come up with — you guessed it — statistics about anything and everything, provided a few more less-than-shocking numbers for us to chew on.

When it comes to resolutions, 41 percent of Americans make them, and 21.4 percent of them plan to lose weight and eat healthier. The stat brain people said about 9.1 percent of their polling subjects actually follow through with their resolutions, so still, under 10 percent between Forbes and Stat Brain.

Here’s one that got me, though: 42.4 percent said they never succeed and fail on their resolution each year. 

So, when my friends were talking about the loathing for about new members at their local lifting establishments failed to continue bettering themselves, I kind of understood why. 

But for me, the reasoning struck a little deeper. These people were setting out to better themselves, and failing. In sometimes terrific fashion. Sometimes, without the proper encouragement, a cheat day or day off turned into weeks and months off. And eventually, New Year’s resolution Chad turned into September 2016 Chad: Just the same ol’ Chad — by the way, Chad is a completely fictional character in this column and in no way represents anyone I know. 

So, I started thinking about my New Year’s resolutions. What did I want to accomplish and really, what’s the end goal when making a resolution.

First, it has to be achievable. But more importantly, it has to be realistic. 

I’m not saying going to the gym five times a week for 52 weeks isn’t realistic for some people. But it sure as heck isn’t realistic for me. 

And it’s probably not realistic for most of those 21.4 percent who are signing up for Planet Fitness memberships. 

So, what’s next? 

For me, it’s realistic to wake up five minutes earlier every day, in case I run into someone stuck in the snow. Then, I’m five minutes less late to work. 

It’s realistic to say please and thank you more; to open doors, hold them open for hustling people off the streets and close those few that say, ‘Close this door tightly on your way through.’

It’s realistic for me to eat better, yes. Isn’t there always a couple weeks where those five consumed cheeseburgers weren’t the best idea? 

It’s realistic to be more conscious. And that’s what I’m getting at. We can’t control some of the outside factors of the world, like snow days. Blizzard days, if that’s what’s on the horizon. 

We can’t control broken gym equipment or torn up running shoes. Those kinds of things will keep us from obtaining those New Year’s resolutions.

What we can control, is us. We can control who we are and what kind of people we want to be in this community. 

We can control our actions toward one another, and I think achieving that will have a greater impact on people around us, rather than just for ourselves. 

So, my New Year’s resolution is this, and I hope you join me: To be more conscious of others. To simply be kinder, have a more open mind and be intentional about the things I do and the words I say. Because making a resolution for myself, that could have a larger impact than some pounds lost, makes the work toward being in that 9.1 percent all the more valuable. 

Stephen Kalb-Koenigsfeld, Pioneer Editor

 

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