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Promises to keep

January 03, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

TRI-STATE - Two days into the new year, several Tri-State area residents said Sunday they were waiting until today to start their New Year's resolutions.

However, many had mixed feelings about the tradition. A few said they hope to keep their resolutions, while others simply have given up on the idea.

For those who haven't, the most popular New Year's resolutions were altering eating habits, weight loss and quitting smoking - and age didn't seem to matter.

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For the first time in her life, Megan Smith, 12, of Inwood, W.Va., said she made a resolution, to quit drinking soda.

"More girls my age drink more soda than anything else," said Smith, as she ate her McDonald's french fries at the Valley Mall food court.

She admits it's going to be a hard habit to kick, given the amount of soda consumed daily by other members of her family. But, it's a problem Smith said she has identified and she wants to give quitting it her best shot.

Smith's friend, Hollie Wiegand, 12, didn't make a New Year's resolution, but the cheerleader said she wants to cut back on sugary beverages and increase her water intake.

"Sodas just make you more thirsty and they're not as healthy," she said.

Nearby, Jefferson County (W.Va.) high school teacher Pam Wilmer applauded Smith and Wiegand for their decisions.

"It's a problem with a lot of teenagers," Wilmer said. "And solving it starts at home."

Wilmer said she and her husband, John Wilmer, don't make New Year's resolutions.

"I don't believe in them. It's too much trouble to keep them if you make them," Pam Wilmer said.

"Resolutions should start in the morning when people wake up. Otherwise, it's a cheap way to identify personal goals," John Wilmer added.

During Sunday's services at Zion Baptist Church in Hagerstown, Pastor Haru Carter encouraged members of his congregation to avoid making New Year's resolutions if they weren't sincere.

"You have to have a desire to want to have something eliminated in your life," Carter said, noting that breaking a resolution is like not keeping a promise to God.

"You have to be determined. It's an oath and needs to be taken seriously," Carter said.

Regina Mason, 52, said she didn't have the best track record at keeping New Year's resolutions, so now she avoids the pressure.

"I'm just hoping for a better 2005," said Mason, who attended Sunday's worship service.

Things were different for Victor Settles, 42, who said he hoped the congregation's prayers will give him the strength to keep his New Year's resolution to make a better life for himself and overcome troubles from his past.

"My resolution is to do the right thing. I've been saved and I'm going to stick with it," said Settles, who moved to Hagerstown three months ago from Little Rock, Ark., to find a job and get his life back on track.

At Gold's Gym north of Hagerstown, Erin Maginnis, 27, was one of about 20 regulars at the gym exercising Sunday afternoon. She said her New Year's resolution was to increase her workouts from three to five times a week, and if she's not successful, she's got a backup resolution.

"I hope to at least maintain three days a week if that doesn't work," she said.

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