Letter From Granma

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Am I Smarter than a 5th Grader? Resolutions

The assignment…write a paragraph about resolutions that you have made for the year.
res·o·lu·tion
rezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/
noun: a firm decision to do or not to do something.
Why is it the we correlate resolutions with the first of the year?  Over the years the New Year’s resolution has gained more and more popularity.  In fact one of the many questions asked at the beginning of the year is “What is your New Year’s resolution? ”  What have you promised to do as an act of self improvement?
Where did this traditon begin?
As with so very many customs or traditions we can go back to ancient times to find the origins.
The Babylonians made promises to their gods at the beginning of each year.  The Romans made promises to their god Janus for whom the month of January is named.
Some of the more popular resolutions made by adults include loosing weight, getting organized, improving finances, and improving social skills.  A comprehensive study, however, showed that nearly 88% failed to keep their resolutions.  The reasons given were that the goals were unrealistic, they forgot about their goals, or they simply made too many resolutions to begin with.
resolutions 10
For the 5th grader…it took a great deal of concentration for the paragraph to be written.  I could tell that there were numerous ideas for resolutions which were discarded because the commitment of keeping that particular resolution would  not be worth the effort.  It occurred to me that to resolve to do something requiring a full year is biting off something many of us are not prepared to do.
So why not resolve to do something each day?    The dedication or “staying power” is much easier to handle and the task of commitment not so overwhelming.  In this way, we can strive to make positive changes without risking defeat by dedicating ourselves to an unrealistic time table.  We can concentrate on a positive action for a day.  We can resolve to do less of the negative things and more of the positive things.
resolutions less and more
We can start with very small things and work toward bigger ones.  This is something that everyone can do no matter how old they are.  Some ideas might include simply offering a positive compliment to someone, doing a task without being asked, or taking chances by doing something outside our comfort zone.   Some resolutions might simply be to change a negative behavior like mistreating the dog or a family member, or crying at bedtime.  Little changes handled one at a time on a daily basis can directly impact our lives.   People will take notice.  As we see how one day can make a difference, we will find that we do each of these little things more often and we no longer need to “resolve” to do them at all, because they have become a positive part of our life.
I say…No more New Year’s Resolutions.  Resolve to take one day at a time and make one small change for the better.
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