Editor's Notes

So, made any New Year’s resolutions for 2020?

If so, broken any yet?

While about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only about 8 percent succeed, according to a University of Scranton study I found last week on the Business Insider website.

I’ve written in this space in other years that I’m not a big fan of making New Year’s resolutions or getting all riled up if things don’t start promptly on Jan. 1. 

Resolving to lose 100 pounds or to find your dream job or the love of your life may sound good. But such daunting resolutions can be a setup for failure. 

That doesn’t mean setting new goals can’t be useful. They just need to be kept in perspective and be achievable.

The best bet, I think, is to set just one goal, then write down the steps you’ll take to achieve it.

Last year, my wife Mary and I resolved that we would send a birthday card to every member of our family throughout the year.

Immediate family members — our adult kids, their spouses, our grandchildren, etc. — already got one from us each year. But we didn’t even know when some of our nieces and nephews or our siblings’ spouses celebrated their birthdays.

Mary collected those dates from the appropriate family members and wrote them down in a calendar at my request, as a Christmas present to me. The mission launched last Jan. 2, with a card sent to a niece’s spouse. Once or twice a month, the calendar would be brought out to the breakfast table, and we’d share writing out the cards over morning coffee.

Last Monday, Dec. 30, we mailed a second birthday card to that same spouse with the Jan. 2 birthday. We’ve decided to do this two years in a row.

Greeting cards, as you probably know, can be ridiculously expensive at stores. But our box of 50 ordered online cost just $26.99, so we’re now set at about 55 cents per card, plus another 55 cents for each stamp. If we can get a brief smile for $1.10 per, we’ll consider that a bargain.

We achieved this admittedly modest 2019 New Year’s goal for a few important reasons. First, both of us truly committed to it. I suspect if I’d chosen to go it alone, I would have probably missed some.

I don’t know if those cards really meant anything to the people who suddenly got them last year. Probably not a whole lot. But doing them made us feel just a little more connected and we both enjoyed that.

Outside of determining that we will do this again in 2020, we haven’t set any other goals yet. But as I wrote this early last week, we had a long road trip to visit two of our grandchildren on our schedule. I suspect we will have come up with at least one by the time we return home.

I have thought about making sure I read at least one book per month. Losing some weight, exercising more frequently, getting more involved with our church and going out more with friends will all probably come up in our conversation.

I hope we do all of those to some degree.

But we’re not going to worry that we didn’t get started on Jan. 1.

Happy New Year! 

Email comments to dlyons@dailyitem.com.

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