Alan Clark

If you haven’t already, now is the time to get serious about your New Year’s resolution(s).

I say “resolution(s)” because you may decide on only one, or have several resolutions left over from the past that make the list in 2020.

A recent Dagwood comic strip in the funny pages showed him walking about the house with a pad and pencil on which to write his resolutions, which included more time with wife, Blondie, more golf, and keeping a closer eye on his cold cuts inventory in the refrigerator.

If you are not familiar with Dagwood in the comics of your newspaper, you might not know he is famous for his Dagwood sandwiches, featuring piles of cold cuts between two pieces of bread struggling to hold it all together.

When Blondie asks if he has completed his New Year’s resolutions, he replies that his list was just in draft form.

When I was temporarily employed by a YMCA in Chattanooga, I learned first-hand about one of the top resolutions every year.

Memberships in exercise facility groups see a rise in numbers every January, like clockwork, as a part of people’s resolution to keep fit and lose weight. I’ve made that one myself, several times over.

To entice the practice, prices are lowered and entry fees are waived.

A resolution is a promise to yourself. It may be defined as a firm decision to do or not to do something, similar to a resolve, intent, aspiration or aim.

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to spark positive change. The recurring themes each year include a more-active approach to health and fitness, improved finances, and learning new things for personal and professional development.

Chances are, more than a couple of the top 10 most common resolutions will look familiar to you:

  1. Exercise more
  2. Lose weight
  3. Get organized
  4. Learn a new skill or hobby
  5. Live life to the fullest
  6. Save more money/spend less money
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Spend more time with family and friends
  9. Travel more
  10. Read more

What is at issue is how long the resolution stays fresh in the minds of the resolution-makers. Kind of like the “I’ll start this one tomorrow” promise of those who want to go on a diet.

Tomorrow never comes.

It is because we are creatures of habit that resolutions die an early death.

Researchers say 60 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions, but only about 8 percent are successful in achieving them.

Where we are in life has a profound impact, I believe, on resolutions.

If you are a young professional with business goals in mind, you might want to break down your resolutions into monthly goals rather than bite off a huge yearly chunk.

If you are retired, travel destinations and quality of life issues may take precedent over career goals, since you have already had a career.

If you are in the military, your resolution may be profoundly different than a working single mother of three trying to balance a plateful of responsibilities.

Then there are real life-threatening health issues you may be experiencing that color your resolutions.

Regardless, the new year is a perfect time to rethink our daily strategies, mark a turning point in our lifestyle and break old habits that have not worked for us in the past.

Some of us are just happy to still be alive in 2020 and just hope to make it another year with the help of family, friends and neighbors, because that’s the way it oughtta be.

Award-winning Editorialist Alan Clark enters his fourth year of contributions to this newspaper. Previous editorials have been published in book form by Lakeway Publishers, Inc. and are available as podcasts on Apple Music. Other books and compilations are found on and on his website at

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