2012-01-12 / News

New Year’s resolutions? Not for many notable islanders

BY MARGO SULLIVAN

If you’re one of the islanders who had trouble coming up with those pesky New Year’s resolutions, not to worry. This time, the federal government’s got your back. The U.S. General Services Administration’s office of civilian services and innovative technologies, in fact, has compiled a list of the 13 most popular New Year’s resolutions and how to achieve them.

Not one of the government’s resolutions speaks about high adventure, like climbing Mount Everest or sailing around the world, feats islanders accomplished in 2011. USA.gov is also silent about writing the Great American Novel or, oddly enough in an election year, winning the White House. But Jamestowners, surveyed informally about their goals for 2012, did mention two items on the official list – albeit the predictable two: losing weight and exercising more.

Nobody mentioned the government’s number one New Year’s resolution: drink less alcohol.

The survey of islanders suggests few locals are making resolutions, and the main reason they gave was disappointment over past outcomes.

Many town officials and department heads said they didn’t make any resolutions this year. Many more didn’t return telephone calls or emails asking for the information.

Those who did were often noncommittal.

“My New Year’s resolution is not to make any,” said Lewis Kitts, buildings and maintenance director for the Jamestown School Department. “It’s not my thing.”

Planning Commissioner Rosemary Enright similarly did not commit to any resolutions.

“I did promise a friend I would try to go with her to yoga more often,” Enright said, expressing some doubt that the statement would qualify as a resolution. “Which won’t be hard considering how seldom I’ve gone to yoga lately.”

“No, I really didn’t make any resolutions,” she said.

Also looking at the question from an historical perspective, Sue Maden of the Jamestown Historical Society dismissed the whole New Year’s exercise as futile.

“Predictions are so mundane,” she said. “We’re all too old. We know it’s useless. They’re not going to last.”

Laura Hosley, coach of the North Kingstown High unified volleyball team, also cited the difficulty about keeping true to one’s best intentions.

“My New Year’s resolution would be to not take on any additional responsibilities or projects,” she said, “But there are two opportunities that I’m already pursuing, so I guess I’m not being very successful.”

Town Councilor Bob Bowen didn’t want to go on the record with a resolution.

“I don’t have anything,” he wrote in an email.

North Kingstown High football coach John Horsman also punted.

“I don’t make any,” he said.

The youngsters at the Jamestown Teen Center weren’t doing any resolutions, either.

So, are New Year’s resolutions headed the way of the landline, the U.S. Postal Service and other relics of a bygone day?

That could be, but not everyone is ready to give up the New Year’s tradition.

Kathy Almanzor, Lawn Avenue School principal, for example, thinks there are good reasons to make New Year’s resolutions.

“It’s always good to have a goal,” she said, and to “keep focused.” She has made a resolution to “exercise more, keep exercising, and exercise every day.” Almanzor’s resolution came close to the government’s fifth most popular resolution: get fit.

Isabel Jepson, secretary at the Lawn Avenue School, said she has just recovered from knee surgery and so has put good health on the top of her list for 2012.

“I pray to have a healthy New Year,” she said.

Lisa Bryer, town planner, hopes for peace, health and happiness but didn’t commit to a specific goal. Town Clerk Cheryl Fernstrom skipped the resolution based on past bad experiences, she said.

“I’m not good at keeping them,” she said, but she said she would still make an effort to lose weight.

Jill Goldstein, program supervisor at the rec center, had one ambitious goal for 2012.

“My New Year’s resolution is to run a 5K this year and hopefully get my Jamestown Parks and Recreation co-workers to join me,” she said.

Skippers varsity girls’ tennis coach Jacques Faulise came up with two resolutions: “To respond to every phone message, email and letter within 24 hours,” he said. “No exceptions.”

The other resolution, he added, is “to play at least one set of a racquet sport – court tennis, paddle tennis or lawn tennis – every day of the year. No matter what the weather or circumstances; 365 sets.”

Robert Finelli, North Kingstown High’s coed ice hockey coach, also set two goals for 2012.

“First off I plan on spending more time with my P90X DVDs than my refrigerator,” he wrote in an email. “And secondly, I defi- nitely need to become more consistent flossing after brushing.”

Dick Ernst, who coached the junior varsity girls’ tennis team to an undefeated season capped by a state championship, is going to keep his winning streak going.

“My resolution is never to lose another tennis match,” he said.

The government’s official top 13 resolutions were drink less alcohol; eat healthy food; get a better education; get a better job; get fit; lose weight; manage debt; manage stress; quit smoking; reduce, reuse and recycle; save money; take a trip; and help others.

The site didn’t give any sources for choosing these 13 as the most popular but made the claim they are popular year after year. As for the issue about failing to keep these resolutions, USA.gov had that situation covered with links to other government sites packed with advice on how to achieve the goals.

ChooseMyPlate.gov, for example, provides everything citizens need to know about eating healthy, including sample menus and recipes.

On the tricky business of finding a better job, USA.gov came up with lists of employment agencies and state job banks, plus tips on writing resumes, and advice about job-hunting scams.

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