Out with the old us!
In with the new, healthier, happier, richer, kinder, smarter, more organized and more industrious us!
New Yorkers’ New Year’s resolutions reflect the ways they scheme, dream and delude themselves into re-engineering their physiques, financial holdings, relationships and careers.
Drew Anderson, 53, a stained glass restorer who lives in Harlem, learned from repeated experience that his annual vow to “exercise more” is unlikely to result in a more active reality. The new theme for 2017? The infinitely more achievable “eat more fruits and salad.”
Anderson has recipes in hand (arugula with pears and parmesan, arugula with cooked squid and fennel) and plastic containers ready to cart his salad to his job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art each work day.
Some people rail at the calendar dictating when they should reform themselves, but Anderson observed that “the dawn of a new year is an opportunity to do something fresh and make a new start. If you don’t take the opportunity, the new year just seems like an extension of the old year.” In his research on goal-setting, he discovered resolutions are best when they are realistic, manageable and specific.
A study performed last year by market research organization Statistic Brain determined 45% of Americans “usually” make New Year’s resolutions (38% never do) and that the top modification categories were self-improvement related to education, weight, money and relationships. But only 46% of those who made a contract with themselves held to the terms for six months.
Francois Pierre, “30-ish,” who lives in Washington Heights, carries the contract he made with himself late last year in his wallet. His resolutions include dozens of objectives, ranging from reading two to three books a month by the end of September to buying his first Rolex by 2026.
“You have to have dreams and goals to be alive,” said Pierre, who also documented his intentions to buy his mom a house and a Hummer and to help send a friend to Thailand. Writing down his objectives and carrying the list with him helps to “make it all tangible,” and keeps him focused.
Experts in behavior modification say people are most likely to meet their goals when they have concrete plans to surmount the inevitable obstacles they will confront. Of course, motivation helps, too.
The Nov. 8 election results compelled M Adryael Tong, 31, a PhD student in religious studies at Fordham, to “teach my students more about political theory” in 2017. A good start, said the Inwood resident, will be compelling them “to read the Constitution.”
The hopelessness many people feel about improving their economic prospects in an increasingly unequal world is reflected, perhaps, in the resolution of many New Yorkers to play the lottery. Bike messenger Nadia Washington, 32, of West New York, New Jersey, said she had a savings account, but wanted to play the Lotto more consistently — and not just when a humungous jackpot was advertised. “The only way you’re going to win is if you play,” she said.
Gregory Rivera, 63, an unemployed mechanic from the Bronx who said he faced discrimination from employers as a result of a prison record, had given up even on the lottery.
His New Year’s resolution? “To get down on my knees and pray and hope God gives me a million dollars.”