• 50°

OUR VIEW: Good luck with your resolutions

The calendar has officially turned to 2021. The end of December serves as a chance to pause to look back on what the previous 12 months brought, both good and bad. And although every year has a mix of both, 2020 obviously had an unexpected pandemic that turned our world upside down.

In most years, New Year’s Eve brings back memories from vacations, special experiences and time with family. This year, we think most are thinking of masks, hospital stays and other issues that arose.

However, this period of reflection helps provide perspective for the new year, and allows us to reminisce on what we did well during the previous year and to learn from our mistakes.

This is also a popular time for resolutions. Whether it be a commitment to exercise more, eat better, read more or recommit to an old habit that has fallen out of practice, resolutions are a great way to jump-start change in our lives.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most resolutions made by Jan. 1 are often abandoned by February.

Most of the time that’s because goals are too lofty.

A commitment to exercise six times per week made by someone who has not been to a gym in years is unlikely to gain traction.

Likewise, a decision to remove caffeine completely from the life of an avid coffee drinker will prove just as difficult. The pendulum swing is just too severe in these cases and failure is all but assured from the beginning.

What is important to remember while making new year’s resolutions is to make manageable goals. Determine what behaviors need to be adjusted in the coming year, then create concrete manageable steps to get there.

For those trying to cut back on caffeine, a more realistic goal may be to move from three cups of coffee per day to two.

For those looking to read more, it likely isn’t best to dive headfirst into a large book, but rather to pick up a daily copy of a newspaper as a starting point.

Whatever your resolution this January, we hope to see you still committed in February and beyond.

The key, as it is in so many areas of life, is consistent attention to a realistic plan. It is not always glamorous or fun, but can lead to results.