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Did you keep last year's resolution?

January 09, 2006|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

No more New Year's resolutions for James Williams "J.W." Fisher.

"I'm 60 years old and I've made 60 of them and I haven't kept a single one of them," said Fisher, of Hagerstown.

He isn't the only one.

Every year, millions of Americans utter promises of self-improvement for the year to come, according to a study conducted by the University of Washington. But most of the time they're unfulfilled dreams, which end up repackaged as "new" New Year's resolutions the following year.

Why bother making a new one if you haven't tackled the old one?

Scholars say the tradition of making resolutions probably started 4,000 years ago when the ancient Babylonians vowed to return borrowed farm equipment before the start of each year.

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But in modern times, people wait until the last minute to make New Year's resolutions and often base them on things that bother them at the moment - surefire ways to resolution failure, according to the study.

Successful or otherwise, people haven't stopped making resolutions - that is, unless your name is J.W. Fisher.

Year after year, Fisher said he had vowed to lose weight, at least 50 pounds. "I wanted to get back to my teenage years," Fisher said.

Well, that didn't happen, Fisher said. "It actually went in reverse."

"Am I going to make that same promise again?" he said. "I'm not going to lie to myself."

Bill Wolford, 68, of Hagerstown, said he doesn't make New Year's resolutions anymore, either.

"I didn't make a New Year's resolution because I think we should be making them all the time," he said.

Wolford, a type II diabetic, said he made his last resolution years ago.

"My doctor said either lose the weight or go on insulin, so I lost the weight," Wolford said.

Wolford said he has since walked every day and has dramatically changed his diet.

The U.S. government lists losing weight as one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. Quitting smoking, part of last year's resolution for Arlene Hancock, was also on that list.

"I kept part of my resolution," said Hancock, 55, of Hagerstown, explaining that she had become more active with her church and had stopped drinking.

But she could not quit smoking, she said, just before lighting a cigarette outside the post office Saturday afternoon.

"One step at a time, right?" Hancock said.

Anne Catier, 67, of Hagerstown, said illness forced her to keep her 2005 resolution to spend less money.

"I had to have surgery," Catier said. "It me made me more conscious of my budget. I just couldn't go out and buy Obsession cologne just because I felt like it."

Ruby Cohall, 28, of Hagerstown, said she didn't bother making any resolutions in 2005.

"I know I wasn't going to keep them," Cohall said. "I'm going to be good, I'm going to stop shopping all the time - stuff I ain't going to do anyway."

This year was going to be different, Cohall said.

"I made a resolution this year that I'm going to buy my own car and I'm making that one," she said.

Jason Gray, 29, of Hagerstown, said he was determined to follow through on his New Year's resolution.

"Last year? (My resolution was) to get to where I am now," said Gray, who is originally from upstate New York. "I bought a house, I'm living in it, and renovating it, which makes it kind of hard to live in at times."

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