Out with the old, and in with the new

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When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, signalling the start of a new year it is often greeted with mixed emotions as people reflect on the year gone by and think about the one ahead.

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, signalling the start of a new year it is often greeted with mixed emotions as people reflect on the year gone by and think about the one ahead.
Those who reflect on the previous year positively, possibly because they experienced good fortune or a joyful event, tearfully say goodbye to it and hope the following year can prove to be just as fruitful.
On the other hand, some are happy to bid farewell and look forward to starting fresh with a clean slate, particularly if the previous year had its struggles; in this case, people hope for the future to be a little easier and offer something better.
Many people consider the start of a new year as a new beginning where they are given the opportunity to make changes. It is often these people who, on New Year’s Eve, make resolutions and vow to stick to them. The most popular resolutions are to lose weight, exercise more, or stop smoking. Others include spending more time with family, spending less and saving more, falling in love, etc.
Unfortunately, of the approximate 50% of people who make resolutions, only about 8% of them succeed in achieving their goals; many tend to forfeit fairly quickly, sometimes before even starting. Statistics show that gym use and spending on healthy foods peak during the first couple of weeks of the new year and slowly dwindle with each additional week. It is for this reason that resolutions are often recycled year after year in hopes of obtaining the goal the next time around. 
Are we procrastinators who lack motivation? Or citizens with good intentions who simply over-commit? Or should we be applauded for ambitiously making a resolution in the first place?
It’s important to set goals that are small in scope, simple, realistic, and obtainable. For example, instead of pledging to lose weight, start by vowing to always take the stairs or to cut out one unhealthy snack from your diet each day.  Eliminating even one soft drink a day will make a difference.
It may also be helpful to find a resolution buddy who has the same goal in mind. Pledgers can benefit from the added support system and from being accountable to more than just themselves. Strength comes in numbers!      
   When resolutions are hasty decisions that are not thought through, made by individuals who are not 100% committed and willing to dedicate their time and energy to setting them in motion, the odds are not in their favour. Simply put, we need to shape up on our goal making to limit goal breaking. And, if that doesn’t work, well, Lent is coming!  

Allyson Beauregard, Editor