With 2012 drawing to a close, it inevitably provokes reflection, prompting many to resolve to do something different about the new year.
Thus is born the sometimes fragile, always hopeful New Year’s resolution. According to a 2012 study by the University of Scranton, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions and 17 percent make them infrequently. Another 38 percent absolutely never make them, the study said.
For some, 2012 was a year of new beginnings. Schenectady school Superintendent Laurence Spring began his job in June. “It was a pretty good year. I enjoyed my start in the district. My family and I are enjoying our introduction to Schenectady,” he said.
For personal resolutions, he said that “there’s always a few of them.” Spring resolves to run a marathon and a triathalon each year, and this year he’s also resolved to try eating better. He also said that he wants to stop using the word “gonna” as a substitute for “going to.”
Professionally, he said that he’s gearing up to fight for the educational opportunities of Schenectady’s poorer and minority students. “The more I look into how the state distributes aid, the uglier it gets,” he said.
News10 anchor and reporter Lydia Kulbida, like Spring, said that she has also resolved to do some running. Contacted through Twitter, she said, “I am not much of an ‘exerciser’ but I resolve to run a 5K on Mother’s Day, fundraising for a special non-profit: ‘Kelly’s Angels.’ ”
U.S. Representative Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, will be confronting his own new beginning next year. He said in an email that he was resolved to “Meet as many of my new constituents as I can.” Tonko’s district was redrawn in the redistricting of 2011.
Mike Gendron, outgoing chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, said that he’ll be tackling an ongoing personal project.
He’s been writing a book on the history of one-room schoolhouses in Fulton County before centralization, he said. “I’ve done a lot of research and I want to spend some more time with it this year.”
Gendron said that for his book, he has located 100 former one-room school districts within Fulton County that later were centralized into the current district structure.
President of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce Todd Shimkus is practical-minded about his resolutions. He makes a list, keeps them specific and shares them with friends.
“I find that if I write them down and share them with others, I can stick to them more easily,” he said.
His lists from previous years are all saved on his computer. “I’m one of those weird people who keeps all these things,” he said.
He keeps two “master lists” of resolutions — one personal and one concerning the Chamber. The latter list he shares with the board of directors and his staff. “So I’m sharing this list with about 40 people.”
Among the items on that list, Shimkus said that he wants to help businesses that are members of the Chamber of Commerce to comply with health insurance changes at the state and federal level, and he wants the chamber to do its part to lead the Saratoga 150 Festival.
“I want to attract as many people as possible to Saratoga County,” he said.
Shimkus’ method of list-making and sharing might help put him in the 8 percent of people who said they were successful in keeping their 2012 resolutions.
According to the University of Scranton study, those who “explicitly make resolutions” are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t.
WNYT NewsChannel 13 anchor and reporter Jessica Layton said her resolution is a goal that she’s already set and will be carrying into the next year. “I’ve been trying to appreciate every passing moment for what it is, and not get too caught up in the big picture stuff,” she said. “It’s been a difficult year for a lot of people. … I think it’s important to keep counting every blessing.”
Former Scotia resident and “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Laura LaFrate said that she wants to “reach new heights and do new things.” She also said that she wants to travel in the new year to Florida to attend a skydiving festival called Jumpcation, or to Scotland to visit a fellow contestant from “America’s Next Top Model.”
“I like all the chaos that life has to offer,” she said. “And I’m gonna jump right into it.”