Be it resolved…
Last updated 1/5/2022 at Noon
It’s the new year and that time again when large numbers of people make proclamations, public or private, about improving wellness, changing behaviors, or fulfilling dreams. New Year’s resolutions date to the ancient Babylonians who are said to have been the first people to make such resolutions, some 4,000 years ago.
Ancient Rome got in the act too. Emperor Julius Caesar, circa 46 B.C., changed the calendar, establishing January 1 as the beginning of the new year. January, named for Janus, the two-faced god whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches, held significance for the Romans. Janus, they believed, looked backward into the previous year and ahead into the future. Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.
Likewise, for early Christians the first day of the new year became an occasion for reconciling one’s past mistakes and resolving to do and be better. Today, New Year’s resolutions are mostly a secular practice despite the tradition’s religious origins. Most people make resolutions mostly to themselves, focusing primarily on self-improvement. Recent research reports some 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only eight percent say they are successful in achieving their goals.
According to OnePoll, seven in 10 Americans trashed their long-favored New Year’s resolutions for 2021. The survey asked 2,000 U.S. participants about their plans for the new year following the stress from 2020 and found 71 percent focused on learning life skills or practical goals.
Turns out that New Year’s resolutions for 2021 weren’t centered on going to the gym or losing weight, but instead on saving money for the future (62 percent) and learning a new skill (50 percent). The survey also found that over half of respondents (54 percent) planned to do better budgeting in 2021, and another 49 percent hoped to pay down debt.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents wanted to move away from traditional resolutions to focus more on experiences — like spending increased time with family (53 percent) and traveling more (49 percent).
We asked personal trainer and Nugget contributor Andrew Loscutoff if he was flooded with new clients at the new year resolving to get into shape, or existing clients vowing to improve themselves.
“Not really,” he said. “Some, not many. It’s true that people get more motivated as winter takes hold and we become more sedentary and that, not any resolution per se, brings more people to want to work on their fitness.
“The problem with most New Year’s resolutions is that they lack specific goals, being too general in scope,” Loscutoff elaborated.
A number of Sisters Country folk cited getting into better shape as their 2022 resolution, among them Judy Trego, executive director of Sisters Country Chamber who “plans on getting back to the gym.” She is joined by Sisters School District Superintendent Curt Scholl who identified regular exercise as his 2022 resolution.
All around town, resolutions abound. Sisters District Ranger Ian Reid shared that he wanted to “read more (for pleasure), reconvene our annual family rafting trip tradition, and work on my dog’s behavior.”
Lt. Chad Davis, who heads the Sisters sheriff’s substation, had similar aspirations in his resolution: “Have less screen time and more time reading by the fire.”
Over at the fire hall, Chief Roger Johnson is goal focused: “Professionally, I want to increase community engagement with the fire district. As the community grows and threats from wildfire and other natural disasters increase, it will be important that emergency responders and the community are prepared for any challenges we may face.
“Personally, I want to do more hiking and fishing this year. It’s amazing to think that I have lived here for nine years and there is so much I haven’t seen or explored yet!”
Down at City Hall, City Manager Cory Misley vows to “snowboard more — it’s a form of meditation for me!” It won’t be lack of snow holding him back as Sisters Country has been hammered with a series of storms, doubling Hoodoo’s cover in a week.
Mayor Michael Preedin said, “My New Year’s resolution as mayor is two-fold: 1. To continue basing my city council decisions on what is best for the long-term health of the City; 2. Eat fewer chocolates so my clothes fit better.”
The Nugget’s Sue Stafford stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago.
“One less way to deal with guilt!” she said.
Sandy Gilbert, new to Sisters, has already met his New Year’s resolution to pay it forward. We met him as he just finished shoveling about 10 inches of snow off his own driveway and sidewalks as well as his neighbors’ on either side.
Kevin, a self-admitted “curmudgeon” and regular at a local watering hole, where he regales the gathering in sartorial splendor, vowed to “bark less and wag more.”
“We’ll drink to that!” his buddies quickly added.