Shoot for a Better 2018—New Year’s Resolutions or Not

Written by Jenny Smiechowski, staff writer for The Birches

Most people have a strong stance on New Year’s resolutions. They either make them every year, or they never make them. And by your eighth or ninth decade on this earth (or most likely sooner), you’ve decided which camp you fall in.

“Every time I made a New Year’s resolution, I ended up forgetting about it eventually,” said Birches Assisted Living resident Anna Marie Hickey. “Everybody breaks it. I would think if you were to take a percentage it would be 90 percent or more.”

Hickey is right. Only about eight percent of people achieve their resolutions. And according to Hickey, she’s never been in the eight percent. She’s made resolutions to exercise and lose weight (like nearly every one of us have), but never saw them through to the end. So she’s decided she’s not a resolution person.

Birches resident Darcy Kelleher says she’s stopped making them too, after too many failures.

“I always start out with watching my weight, but I don’t keep it too long,” said Kelleher. “After a couple of months—or even a couple of weeks—I forget about it.”

And Birches resident Bob Kleinfelder says he only has one resolution this year…

“My resolution is not to make resolutions,” said Kleinfelder.

So does that mean New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time?

The answer is, it depends.

For some people, New Year’s resolutions may not be the best path to self-improvement. They have too much baggage from past failures.

But just because you don’t set a formal New Year’s resolution doesn’t mean you can’t better yourself in the year to come. Hickey, Kelleher and Kleinfelder, for example, are all working to improve themselves, New Year’s resolutions or not.

Hickey says she’ll probably start working with The Birches’ personal trainer in the new year, even though she doesn’t plan to set a formal resolution to exercise more or lose weight. Kelleher walks 15 minutes every day, and plans to continue doing so in the year to come. And Kleinfelder works weekly with The Birches’ personal trainer and has made impressive improvements in strength and mobility.

Then again, for some people, resolutions are a much needed reminder to never give up on your goals, even if you don’t achieve them in one year. Just ask Birches resident Dorothy Reip.

“You’ve got to at least try!” said Reip. “I’ve made New Year’s resolutions, and I feel like they’re worthy things.”

Reip says she’s even been one of the lucky few who has seen a resolution through to the end. She lost weight one year as part of her resolution and kept it off.

“I’d never say they’re not worth it,” said Reip. “It’s better to keep trying than to give up. That’s my opinion.”

So whether you’re a resolution person or not, make some changes for the better this year. And remember, the best way to achieve any goal is to never give up. Even if you forget to eat healthy for a few weeks or you stop exercising for a few months, once you realize that you’ve stopped, start again. And don’t wait until next January to do it! Have a happy and healthy 2018!