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THE new year ushers in not only hopes for a better world, but hopes for a better self. This is the supreme role of what I think is the world’s oldest cliché, known as New Year’s Resolutions.

Wiki defines new year’s resolutions as “commitment(s) that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year’s Day and remain until fulfilled or abandoned”. (My little sis Thea will berate me for having quoted that, she strongly advocates that Wiki is not a good online source, as it is not an academic authority.)

All of us have fallen prey to the lure of drafting these resolutions for ourselves before the passing of an old year. Some go to the extent of putting it into writing, complete with tick marks for all things accomplished in the list, if any. Others shamelessly declare it to family, friends and acquaintances, only to be made realize halfway through the year that they seem to have failed (miserably). For this reason, a good number of people shun this tradition, or pretend to do so, although they still have new year’s resolutions – this time kept to themselves.

So what are popular new year’s resolutions that recur in most people’s yearly list?

One thing that will surely appear on top of the list is to save more. With the hard times experienced the past year, it’s been really tough to make ends meet, so probably most people’s savings portfolio did not move up a bit. I think if we can get to stick by that sound financial advice of keeping at least 10 percent of our income per month, that would be good. Problem is, before we get our net income (especially for salaried employees), it has already been subjected to the butchery of taxes, insurance premiums, and healthcare premiums, among others. This realization is the reason Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad ranks high in my list of the saddest books ever.

Parallel to the concept of saving more, is getting out of debt. Personal debts, pledges, mortgages, and the bane of modern existence, credit cards. Oh my, I’d rather plead the fifth (amendment) on this. Next item, please.

Another resolution that I think made the cut in most people’s list is to quit smoking. Yes, every year it makes the list…of the same people. Hey, here’s an interesting thing I heard about smoking: One thousand Americans are said to stop smoking everyday…by dying.

And finally, there is that eternally elusive LOSE WEIGHT bit. It has for its siblings Get Fit and Eat Right/Healthy, and its cousin, Exercise More. Awww. This has been a new year, Lenten, birthday, midyear, any-event-and/or-cause-for-resolution resolution for me for the past 6 years. I think that although I’m not a smoker, I have the danger of dying young due to my sedentary (read: LAZY) lifestyle. I thought about that one cold idle night in December, and managed to check out the oval/track field (whatever you call that…see, I’m so athletic!) at Teachers’ Camp for my walking-brisk walking-running program. Haven’t gone back. But I will…I have that resolve to get into that this year…and I will write about it when I do. Someday.

I think making a list of resolutions is a virtue in itself — to be able to admit to yourself that you have faults, to know that you have that chance to get better, and to realize that there is always deliverance from stagnation.

“I will this day try to live a simple, sincere and serene life;

repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity and self-seeking;

cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence;

exercising economy in expenditure, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service,

fidelity to every trust, and a child-like trust in God.”

– A 1915 New Year Postcard

sunstarbaguio. 8jan09.

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