Keeping resolutions isn#039;t easy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 31, 2002

With New Year's Day comes a number of traditions. Toasting with champagne, kissing at midnight and watching the ball drop in Times Square are just a few.

But perhaps the one most of us love to hate (and break) are New Year's resolutions.

Have you kept yours so far?

Email newsletter signup

More importantly, what kind of resolutions did you make?

Losing weight is a popular one.

In fact, it seems like the dominant resolution. Ads at the beginning of January kindly offer to help with that one.

All of a sudden health clubs are offering "low" membership rates. Low-fat cereals promise their version of tasteless flakes will help you lose the most weight.

Did you know that if you replace two meals a day with Kellogg's Special K cereal, you can lose up to six pounds in two weeks?

Well, that's not a new discovery. Usually when you eat less than usual, you will lose weight. And besides, what happens when those two weeks are up?

Well, maybe Kellogg's is smarter than I think. Two weeks is about all the longer resolutions last.

Who came up with all this resolution stuff anyway?

New Year's celebrations started more than 4,000 years ago with the Babylonians, except they celebrated during the spring, which makes a little more sense. I don't know a whole lot of people who are motivated to begin anew in the middle of winter.

The Babylonians also had resolutions, the most common one being returning borrowed farm tools to neighbors.

That's more than a little different from striving to lose weight, improving your financial portfolio or redoing the decor in your home.

Sure, losing weight isn't all that bad of a resolution. I admit that I hope to do something more active this year than typing on a keyboard or flipping channels on the television remote. But my goal certainly isn't to look like the sculpted actors (who look like they could resolve to exercise less) in the health club advertisements.

Many resolutions, at least the commercially popular ones, are materialistic. Television morning shows offer tips on weight loss, fashion and wall paint.

At least the Babylonians vowed to make good on their promise to returned borrowed items. That's not something you can buy at the store or order on the shopping network. That resolution relates to becoming a better person. Not a better-looking, more financially secure person.

But a better person.

Now that I'm away from family and many of the friends I spent four years hanging out with, I resolve to keep in better contact with them.

Those of you that know me are probably rolling your eyes and thinking of my sporadic e-mails.

I can't make any promises. This is, of course, a New Year's resolution. But keeping in contact with the people I care about is important to me.

If I do fail to keep this resolution, there's nothing that says I can't renew it later in the year.

That's the other problem I find with New Year's resolutions. Jan. 1 can't possibly be the only day to make self-improvements.

We should strive to make small improvements every day. OK, at least every week. Sometimes it's enough to make it through the day.

If you do make New Year's resolutions, I hope you take this time to reflect on what's really important to you.

Hopefully the resolutions you come up with are closer to returning borrowed tools than working for rock hard abs.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at