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Those New Year’s resolutions, and more

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Are you going to keep them? If not, don’t feel so bad.

I have made mine, like millions of people before me since the time of Babylon. That’s when it started, at least according to the Internet machine.

Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.

I’ve got that covered, since I have returned all the borrowed stuff years ago. But one of my buddies still needs to get back an expensive flashlight from his older brother, so this would be a good time to do it.

And, I did lend a window A/C unit to a friend a very long time ago that I never got back. Not that I need it, but it would have been nice of him to call and say: “Hey, I needed bail money and sold the A/C. Sorry.”

So, January would be a good time to do all this, even though Janus was sort of a two-faced god, looking back to the past and the future all at the same time.

By the way, if you ever wondered why January is named after Janus (I personally have not), it’s because Janus is the god of doors, and January is the door to the new year. Those Romans had quite an imagination thinking up all these gods and their specific tasks.

I tried to look up the god for windows, but all I got were links to Bill Gates.

But I digress. New Year’s resolutions should be made responsibly and kept, if at all possible. So, don’t make them like everyone else.

An estimated 75 percent of all resolutions last about a week, while 46 percent make it past six months, according to a University of Scranton study. This must have been a fun study to conduct, asking people about their New Year’s resolutions. It’s one of those Earth-shattering ones.

But not as important as a 2011 researcher project at Albany Medical College. Researchers played songs by Beethoven and Miles Davis to rats and concluded that the rats preferred silence, but would rather hear Beethoven than Miles Davis.

Smart rats, but once again, let’s get back to our New Year’s resolution topic.

University of Scranton researchers also stated that 39% of people in their twenties will achieve their resolution each year while only 14% of people over 50 years of age will achieve theirs.

It may be better to skip the resolution part and go straight to the breaking part 86 percent of the time for people around my age.

The trick to keeping these resolutions, according to experts, is to make them reachable and reasonable. And that is good advice, because it is coming from experts.

For example, instead of pledging to lose an incredible amount of weight in a very short time, just pledge to eat less. Weight loss has to be the most common New Year’s resolution.

I hereby pledge to use my cellphone less when I’m in the gym. That is a reasonable resolution. I didn’t say I’d cut it out, or I would not look at it in restaurants or before the movie starts. That would be harder to keep.

I also didn’t say that I would spend more time in the gym. If I did do that, I’d probably be on my cellphone, so that wouldn’t work.

I’m also going to continue to put out the paper each week. That’s an easy goal, since I am already doing it. Like I said, keep it reasonable - little steps, or in this case, no step.

I am not pledging to end my columns without injecting a little corn and pun. That would be asking for too much.

Happy New Year’s resolutions, dear reader. I hope you’ll keep yours longer than the rest of us.