January harbors the possibilities of a new year and, in turn, possible changes to every citizen’s personal process. A circadian rhythm based on a twelve-month cycle seems to urge us all to simultaneously think: How am I doing? What can I do to improve myself? Voilà! A laundry list of viable resolutions begins to take shape. Annually we exude a natural optimism that couples with the fresh start of a year. Personal adjustments that heretofore have not been put into execution are summoned. The comfort of our individual procrastination is halted and we are left squarely facing our own will.
Whoa! Whoa! I commend the idea of self-improvement but doesn’t this seem like undue pressure just because of the calendar? Must we experience Father Time as a Task-Master? It is widely known that few Americans actually keep to their resolutions (about 8%) not even enduring until February. But given the pandemic shouldn’t we all be given a pass anyway this time? Didn’t I just get around to taking the Christmas decorations down and recycling the tree? Is it really necessary to immediately start to diet, organize, and budget?
The idea of New Year’s resolutions is admirable and productive but perhaps we could extend meeting our goals throughout the entire year. It demonstrates no less of a tenacious character if we adhere to a plan of action that actually might work. Personal resolve towards our growth goals needs to be well scheduled to succeed. You’ve heard of “Spring Cleaning”, how about “Summer Exercising” and then “Autumn Volunteering”? Perhaps allowing ourselves to follow our own individual commencement will yield better results. Here in the Northeast, winter is brutal enough without tacking on an unfamiliar regimen. The 92 percent failure rate itself certainly calls for a fresh approach or are we simply listing New Year’s disillusions! We are all at different stages in our pursuit of happiness; it makes sense to implement our goals in different stages and at varied times.

Americans do have similar aims for resolutions and the top three are as follows according to a 12/31/21 Statista poll

1) Doing more exercise or improving fitness 50%


2) Losing weight 48%


3) Saving more money 44%


The strong biological tendency towards winter “nesting” seems obviously juxtaposed to the first two resolutions. Why set yourself up for failure? If you “buck up” to join the local gym to tackle those goals and escape the elements, aren’t you failing yourself on the third one? Those in warm climates, get after it! The rest of us should wait until the spring thaw to improve ourselves with all three.

 

Other results include:


4) Improving my diet 21%


5) Pursuing a career ambition 21%


6) Spending more time with my family 18%


7) Taking up a new hobby 14%


8) Something else 14%


9) Spending less time on social media 13%


10) Giving up smoking 10%


11) Decorating or renovating part of my home 10%


12) Volunteering or doing more charity work 10%


13) Raising money for charity 5%


14) Cutting down on drinking 4%


15) Quitting drinking entirely 2%


*16) Treat myself to a new Bungalow or Cottage and then embrace the lifestyle!
*Editor’s addition!

The holidays do lend themselves to excess so you can readily sense the declarations of recent guilt glaringly listed in goals 4),10),14 )and 15). I guess some Christmas parties did resume! For number 6), I am assuming Americans that made this vow weren’t able to actually celebrate together with family this past season. Or at least, that 18% doesn’t have an “Uncle Gus” 15!) who pontificates ad nauseum about religion and politics throughout his extended visit. Oh and I’m not particularly backing number 9) or how else would you be reading my insight such as……… those of you 11) pushing to decorate or renovate need to dig deeper!

Seriously, it’s a good list; though we shouldn’t tie the effort needed to fulfill it into a random time in our journey either. We certainly want to address our health issues as soon as possible so I am not advocating that anyone wait on making their well-being a prime focus. Any healthy change for the better is worthwhile any old month but personally planning new behavior in a way that lasts is paramount for the big win. We should choose individually “when to strive” so as to improve our chance of success. Shrinking our failure rate and maintaining these resolutions beyond January will help build toward confidence in future, valuable, challenges. If more of us keep with real progress, the greater good for the U.S. healthcare system and the Needy (12 and 13) are beautifully addressed. Take baby steps if you need to (8?) but keep moving forward to the beat of YOUR drum (7?). So what if the urge for a needed resolution comes in July?


Let’s put ourselves in position come next December where we have checked off boxes, resolutely working towards real individual and national growth THIS trip around the sun. Don’t let the fact that you haven’t followed through yet steal the optimism that you earned weathering 2021 (and “Uncle Gus” 15!). Also, how about no annual pass because of Covid for us. America, we can do better than an 8% success rate when it comes to lifting ourselves and the country higher by attacking our list all year. No pressure….when you can, but keep trying even if the “historically allotted window of action” has elapsed. Do take some time to regroup as needed but know it is EVER America’s time for improvement!!

JAH

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John A. Hughes

John A. Hughes

John Hughes hails from Wilmington, Delaware. He has lived throughout the Mid-Atlantic and New England in his 35 years working in the Commercial Furniture Industry. He remains an active parent of 2 children in their twenties and enjoys running and golfing.

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