Image courtesy Active Healthcare

Amplifications: Resolutions

I have often heard it said that if you want to make a change in your life, you must start small: Make a small change and keep at it until it is a habit, then make another small change.

I have never been big on New Year’s resolutions simply because they seem impossible to maintain. The only one that ever stuck was my vow to drink more water. I turned it into a habit and, for decades, have tried to drink eight glasses of water and/or seltzer or herbal tea a day. I do not count coffee or caffeinated tea, and stopped drinking soda many, many years ago. So that’s it. My one New Year’s resolution was to drink water, which sounds fairly lame. It seems that if I only adhered to one, it should have been something loftier like running the Boston Marathon or going to grad school.

Once, in my 30s, I tried to stop cursing. It lasted about a week. The habit was too much ingrained and, frankly, I find it enjoyable to curse.

I have been making great strides in improving my health in the last six months, so I am going to make another stab at a resolution. As a writer I spend a lot of time on my derriere, and I am thinking that derriere could spend at least 30 minutes a day on an exercise bike, which is conveniently parked in my living room. Said exercise bike was purchased years ago from the late Bill Blass’ butler, of all people. I sometimes wonder if the deceased designer is haunting me for not wearing fashionable workout attire—or even actually working out.

My mother has decided she will eat better in 2019, which isn’t a bad idea since her idea of lunch is often ice cream on a sugar cone. According to, her resolution is the most common, followed by my resolution to get more exercise. This is followed by a resolution to save more money and then by one to take better care of oneself, such as getting more sleep.

About 18 percent percent of the people making resolutions plan to read more and 15 percent plan to make new friends, a statistic tied by those who want to learn a new skill. Fourteen percent of the people polled hope to get a new job and 13 percent plan to take up a new hobby. My daughter belongs with the 32 percent who do not plan on making a resolution at all.

I have often heard it said that if you want to make a change in your life, you must start small: Make a small change and keep at it until it is a habit, then make another small change. My plan is to ride my exercise bike for 30 minutes at least five times a week while keeping a record. I had always heard that a habit can be formed in 21 days, but according to the University of London, it actually takes an average of 66 days, though it is different for everyone.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that consistency is the key. We habitually brush our hair, shave our faces, wear clean clothes. The actions of these daily chores are ingrained and mindless. It would seem that adding something to our daily routines would not be that difficult, but according to an article in the New York Post, only 22 percent of us will still be going to the gym by October.

There are apps that will help us keep our commitments. PC Magazine lists a bucket load of them and each claims it can aid you in becoming a better person, losing weight, using your time better, meditating and even finding a better job. I believe some of these sites can help, as there is much to be said for accountability.

The one app I find the most interesting is Stickk. Apparently you may, though it is not required, put down money and sign a contract. If you do not meet your end of the bargain, you can designate a charity to receive the money you invested. Even more interesting is the idea that you can pick an “anti-charity” so if you don’t fulfill your goals, the money is given to a place that will aggrevate you. That seems both clever and wryly funny.

Though I like the idea of an app, I am going low-tech with my resolution by charting my practice in a small notebook. And if anyone is also making a resolution and wants to post their goals, feel free. All efforts will be applauded.