Another Chance to get it right


Here we are, already in 2022, and statistics say that nearly half of us have made at least one New Year’s Resolution … but only three percent will keep the resolution until April. 

I can’t help wondering what this low success rate says about our annual burst of optimism. Perhaps resolutions are a belief that we can actually control our lives, or that our best days haven’t happened yet. As Oprah Winfrey has said, “New Year is another chance to get it right.”  

But with the low success rate, are New Year’s resolutions even worth making? I thought it might help to get a broader perspective, so I asked an expert … and some resolution advocates locally.

“Most people want to change and be better, and we understand that the New Year represents a fresh start to make those changes,” said Hope Dangler, a Licensed Professional Counselor at Harbor Behavioral Healthcare. “We don’t always follow through, but having a clean slate is a great way to start any day, let alone a year.”

A cross-section of local community leaders seems to agree, many saying they do make resolutions and believe they are helpful. Several are aiming at self-improvement. 

Township Trustee Neal Mahoney intends to do a better job of reaching out to friends that he has not spoken to for a while. Also, he said, “I need to write more letters and thank-you notes … email is just not personal enough, and I love getting a handwritten letter myself. Given my low percentage of fulfilling New Year’s Resolutions in the past, I think this one is attainable.”

Mayor Craig Stough said he made progress on his commitments for last year and intends to live a healthier lifestyle and schedule in 2022.  

Dr. Veronica Motley, our superintendent of schools, shares a broader resolution that is related to her mission in the district. “While we still find ourselves maneuvering the effects of the pandemic, I want to support our students and families by providing increased academic help to address the loss of instruction, plus additional support to meet the social and emotional needs of our students.”

Tiffany Scott, executive director of the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce, takes a more focused approach. She picks one word each year that represents a behavior she can improve or get the most out of. In 2021, it was a focus on her physical and emotional health; early in this year, she has narrowed it down to five words that include enthusiasm, strength and perspective.

“With my community position, it is important for ‘the word’ to reflect our team’s role as champions for Sylvania. Accountability is very difficult when you make a full resolution, but if you cut it down to daily tasks it is definitely achievable,” she said.

Ms. Dangler, the counselor, agrees this focused approach can make lifestyle changes easier. She encourages her clients to develop what she calls “SMART goals” which are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

… My resolution is for members of our community: help them navigate the complicated and sometimes contentious waters of our time – that they may live faithfully, justly, and peaceably and with a sense of calm.

“The idea of a resolution is to address some current issue, but if you are future-oriented, setting goals is a better way to achieve outcomes,” she said. “Goals provide a time-sensitive plan with more attainable objectives and a specific path to achieve them.”

Case in point: setting actionable goals reflects both the personal and professional style of  Darrell Wachowiak, president of ProMedica Flower Hospital.  “In the world of health care, where things change quickly, I have to be agile and willing to change paths rapidly. As things change, what makes the hospital a better place today may not be what is needed tomorrow. The term resolution seems more rigid, which is why I lean toward goal-setting.”

So, as we all grapple with an unknown future in 2022, we turn to Lead Pastor Nate Tuff at Olivet Lutheran Church for a final word. With a twinkle in his eye, he said  he makes his annual resolutions “with full awareness that I am setting myself up for failure.”

But then he turns serious. “Our civic culture today seems to reflect a higher degree of conflict than in the past. My resolution is for members of our community: help them navigate the complicated and sometimes contentious waters of our time … that they may live faithfully, justly, and peaceably and with a sense of calm.”

Thank you, Pastor. In the new year, let’s hope this is a resolution you, and all of us can keep.

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