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Connections: Give Change a Shot

Of all the times I’ve made personal resolutions, few – if any – were realized.

That is especially true of New Yearís resolutions, the greatest and most universal demarcation line on the planet.

Approximately 45 percent of the American population pick up a stick sometime before Jan. 1 and draw a line in the sand, stating, on Jan. 1, I will no longer smoke, no longer drink, no longer eat mass quantities of Pop Tarts.

And yet, the vast majority of us fail by the end of January. We start off strong, but we slow by monthís end. We run out of gas. We relapse into old habits. We return to what has been familiar to us for so long.

There are reasons. Nona Jordan, a coach who helps female entrepreneurs improve their business, said the allure of starting from scratch is too tempting to pass up. There’s something about

‘starting over’ that is attractive to the brain.

It’s also human nature to want to better ourselves, and what better way than to schedule a time and date to begin. It’s logical to choose the first of a month and the first of a new year. As humans, we love order.

And we love tradition, a concept fully enjoyed by Julius Caesar, who started making resolutions on Jan. 1 as a way to honor the Roman mythical god Janus, a two-faced deity who, with two faces, looks forward and backward.

And yet, for all our failure in not succeeding, there is success in that failure. Social scientists have determined that even the simple act of setting goals and still not achieving them is good for us. Turns out giving it the ‘college try’ will still get you that diploma.

In that case, I have a few diplomas on the wall: one for weight loss (nearly a hundred pounds in my early 20s); for smoking (quit for three years before starting again, only to recently stop once again for nearly a month now); for smart%$@ comments, which I’ve since replaced with dumb*%$ comments; for positive thinking, which has proven to be the most difficult of all virtues to adopt.

In past columns, I’ve asked readers to send me some of their resolutions and keep me updated on their progress. One man many moons ago wanted to stop smoking and sought advice through my column. I gave him some, and he was overjoyed to receive even more from readers. I’ve lost track of him, but I wonder if he’s still riding the train of success.

So to all you readers out there in Ellicottville, and beyond, give it the old college try and kick a habit and turn your life around.

Change is worth a shot.

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