Have you resolved that 2009 finally is the year you will keep your New Year’s resolutions? Here are some tips from the national YMCA organization:
- Make "well-rounded" resolutions to strengthen and balance your spirit, mind and body.
- Mix it up. If you’re stalling on one resolution, spend extra time on another one you’ve made.
- Make resolutions specific, realistic and measurable.
- Accentuate the positive by focusing on adding healthy activities, not restricting unhealthy ones.
- Look for success in small increments and avoid "all or nothing" thinking.
- Don’t "over resolve."
- Track progress in a fun, visual way.
- Celebrate your success with positive, healthy rewards.
- Prepare for setbacks.
- Get help and support from a friend or family member.
Source: YMCA Web site
Making New Year’s resolutions is as old as celebrating the holiday itself, and for just as long, people have been breaking them.
Typically, resolutions involve some type of self improvement. Millions of Americans rang in the new year by resolving to lose weight or exercise more — one of the top resolutions made each January.
Even 9-year-old Norma Martinez of Gainesville has set a goal of getting fit.
"I want to get my name on the fitness record poster in the lunchroom," Martinez said.
Trisha Dougherty, 46, Gainesville has a specific fitness goal in mind.
"I joined a gym, and I want to get my body more healthy by losing weight and gaining muscle," Dougherty said.
The American Cancer Society also notes that millions of Americans resolve to stop smoking, but many return to their habit by Valentine’s Day. Their solution? Reaffirm that goal every Monday instead of just one day a year; it often takes smokers from seven to 10 tries to finally stop smoking for good.
While getting fit and smoking cessation rank as the top resolutions, many people around the world also are resolving to get their finances in shape.
In Great Britain, some 48 percent of people surveyed said they resolve to reduce or eliminate debt, while 42 percent planned to cut spending. The survey by Loudhouse Research was reported by the Associated Press.
Closer to home, many people in North Georgia also resolve to address their finances, such as Wanda Hansen, 80, of Gainesville, who is cutting out debt.
"I’m going to cut up all of my credit cards so I can’t spend money anymore," Hansen said.
Elizabeth Antunez, 14, of Gainesville is mindful of her spending, too.
"I want to learn how to save and manage money because if I have money in my hands, I will spend it on things that I don’t need," Antunez said. "I also want to bring my math grade up and have fun at my quinceñera."
Like Antunez, Dana Martinez, 24, of Gainesville also wants to be a better student.
"I want to work more on my attitude, do my homework assignments and not procrastinate and strive for a better position at work," Martinez said.
The national YMCA organization suggests making your resolutions a family affair, including planning improvements you and your children can achieve together. From making stronger connections with family and friends to learning a new skill, the YMCA suggests striving for balanced improvement to your body, mind and soul.
That’s exactly what Lipa Aguilar, 37, of Gainesville has in mind for 2009.
"First and foremost, I want to seek God more and more everyday and be a more sensible, Christian woman," Aguilar said. "Personally, I want to be a more organized and disciplined person in every aspect of my life, meaning spiritually, health-wise, emotionally and with my family and work."
Lastly, the YMCA also suggests you make sure any resolutions are achievable.
Looking for more inspiration for a resolution? Here’s how some other North Georgians resolve to improve themselves in 2009:
Alan Vitek, 21, Dahlonega: "My New Year’s resolution is to be more appreciative of the things and people that I have in my life."
Paulette Kennedy, 28, Flowery Branch: "I hope to submit query letters to different publishers and gain some type of positive response from a novel of mine by December of next year. My main goal is to get my writing out there."
Juan Moreno, 20, Gainesville: "I’d like to be able to travel more because I love to explore. I’m going to school for communications, and I really want to step outside of my own boundaries and learn about different people."
News clerk Jennifer Messer and The Associated Press contributed to this story.