Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


December 28, 2012

This year, make a ‘life resolution’

As we prepare for the onset of 2013, many people are probably getting together lists of goals and accomplishments they want to make in the new year.

New Year’s, after all, is a time of renewal and introspection, looking into what we have achieved over the past year and what we hope to do better in the future. While everyone else is making their lists, I have a confession to make: I am terrible at New Year’s resolutions.

I hardly ever make them and those few years when I try to, I either give up on my list half way through or have lost it amid the other papers on my desk by Jan. 3. I feel I am pretty good at making promises to other people. I always try to be where I say I will be when I say I will be, or bring whatever it is I’m supposed to. However, I am constantly breaking promises to myself.

Most of the promises I make to myself begin simply enough. I promise to empty the dishwasher in the morning and suddenly I am getting ready for bed that night and realize I still have a stack of clean dishes waiting to be put away. I have promised myself to grab a gallon of milk on the way home from work only to put it off until I am facing a bowl of cereal I have just poured and an empty milk jug in my fridge. I promise to be productive on a Saturday only to look up at the clock and realize I have been looking at humorously captioned pictures of animals for three hours.

New Year’s resolutions are no different than any other pledge or promise I vow to follow for my on personal gain.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never really understood the whole allure of these start-of-the-year promises. As a kid, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was supposed to resolve for myself, what sort of goals I was supposed to accomplish. Just as long as I made good grades and behaved well enough for Santa to return the following December I felt I had done good enough.

Growing up, it seemed to me that first item on the list was always to lose weight. My mother, aunt and tons of my relatives always talked about how they needed to lose weight in the New Year, and for a while I thought it was almost a compulsory New Year’s resolution, that everyone had “lose weight” at the top of their list regardless of their size or shape.

For many, this isn’t a well-kept resolution, as you can definitely see the number of people at the gym balloon up in January and then return to normal levels by March. Still, if I had to bet money I would probably bet that weight loss is still one of the top resolutions people make for the new year.

After that, it was really a mystery to me why grown-ups made all these resolutions. It wasn’t that I was unimaginative enough to come up with some ideas of my own, but it just seemed easier for me to resolve not to make any resolutions. After all, no one really makes resolutions like “eat more cake” or “win the lottery” expecting them to come true or make a positive difference in their lives. I can guess what other people would like to resolve for the new year, but I have a hard time thinking of any good ideas for myself.

I always see resolutions as something daunting. Being a bit of an over-achiever, I always felt like resolutions should be something monumental like training to climb Mount Everest or moving to India to take care of orphans. Resolutions like “watch less TV” always seemed to so trivial to me. Of course, “watch less TV” is probably much more easily done than mountain climbing.                                                                       

Truthfully, the resolutions I can think of are goals I have for myself already. I naturally want to be healthier and take better care of myself since I have been told repeatedly it is easier to do so when you are younger than waiting until your mid-life crisis. I also want to save up a little money in my bank account as a cushion for those rougher times. I also want to keep up with my reading or at least finish all of the books I received for Christmas this year before Christmas comes around again.  

I don’t want to call these New Year’s resolutions because they are things I feel I should always be doing. I suppose “life resolutions” is a better term for them. After all, what is the point of making a resolution if you’re only going to resolve to do it for one year? It should be something you want to keep doing forever after.

New Year’s Day may be the start date for a lot of these promises we make to ourselves, but it is an arbitrary start date. The true new beginning is whenever you choose it to be, not just because the Western calendar deems it the start of the new year.

The closest I can come to making a New Year’s resolution is this: I would like to resolve to make this year better than the last. I know there are not a lot of things I have control over, but I feel if I can at least try to make things better for myself and others I haven’t wasted my year.

Kate Coil is a reporter at the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at


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