Opinion

COLUMN: New Years a time for lifestyle changes, not resolutions

The older I get, the more I wonder: Does anyone take new year's resolutions seriously anymore?

A five second search on the Internet can yield some pretty interesting results.

"For my new year's resolution, I will start buying lottery tickets at a luckier store."

"For my new year's resolution, I will stop licking frozen flag poles."

"For my new year's resolution, I will stop using Facebook as the primary communication method with my wife and kids."

And then there are the more common resolutions made with the best of intentions, such as getting out of debt, traveling more, and my personal resolution of choice – losing weight.

A study completed at the University of Bristol in 2007 showed that 88 per cent of those who set new year's resolutions failed (of 3,000), and of those, 52 per cent felt confident they would succeed.

If anything else, new year's resolutions provide an opportunity for a light-hearted look at ourselves and a laugh, which can never be a bad thing.

Given the concerning and sometimes disturbing worldly events that have occurred in the past 12 months, it is no surprise that some are feeling more than ready to ring in a new year.

In 2012, the heartbreaking story of Amanda Todd resonated with people around the globe.

Superstorm Sandy caused the death of 125 people when it slammed the Atlantic coast, causing an estimated $50 billion in damages, while the sinking of the Costa Concordia of the coast of Tuscany had titanic repercussions.

In 2012, we learned that somewhere in a prison cell in New Mexico, a convicted killer serving time was hatching a plan to kill Justin Bieber.

And finally, we were yet again reminded that there are cowards in this world, cowards with a blatant disregard for human life and in two horrific cases, the lives of young children.

But it wasn't all bad news.

In 2012, gay and lesbian RCMP members from across B.C. released a powerful video of their personal stories in hopes of reaching out to youths struggling with their sexuality, or being bullied because of it.

In 2012, lotto max winner Bob Erb, 60, shared his November winnings – a cool $25-million – around his home of Terrace, B.C., making impromptu visits to local charities and giving sizeable donations.

Nanaimo residents demonstrated their love for the natural world by rallying for its preservation.

A seven-year-old boy named Evan was hailed as a hero after he saved his grandfather's life with a 911 call after the gentleman keeled over in a minivan.

Meanwhile, our neighbours to the south chose the man who will lead the country over the next four years.

And thanks to the Mayans, some of us lived like there was no tomorrow.

On a more personal note, 2012 was a year of major changes.

In 2012, I turned 30 and found that things tend to crack a lot more.

In August, I accidentally did major damage to my knee which set back fitness goals I was starting to achieve. Four months later I'm still working on getting my groove back and learning my limitations.

In 2012, I shifted communities on both a professional and personal level – leaving my post at the Ladysmith Chronicle to return to the News Bulletin, and trading in the comfort of rural life with horses in Cassidy on five acres for a modern, 800-square foot basement suite on Nanaimo's north end.

When you've spent a good portion of your life catering to two half-tonne animals, the void that's created when you no longer live it can leave you feeling pretty empty. I hope to make a change on that front in 2013.

For many, a new year is the proverbial clean slate which allows us to break the undesirable habits of yesteryear and resolve to be better in the months to come.

But like the dreaded word that is 'diet', new year's 'resolutions' don't truly work unless there is both an attitude and lifestyle change to accompany it.

And if surviving the end of the world isn't enough inspiration to better ourselves and those around us, I don't know what is.

As a famous animated rat once said, "Change is nature; the part that we can influence.

"And it starts when we decide."

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