, Salem, MA

January 1, 2013

Checking in on last year's resolutions

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — So 365 days later, how’s that New Year’s resolution working out?

Most of us have attempted them, pledging to reform, to begin anew in the coming year. We will lose weight, stop drinking, reach out to friends and family, become more generous, or richer, or better in countless ways. And we knew it wouldn’t be easy.

But hey, if it were easy, you wouldn’t have to make a resolution to accomplish it.

A quick check of some North Shore residents contemplating 2013 reveals mixed results in the past and a variety of views on the value of resolutions.

Jay Fountain of Danvers states it simply. Last year, he vowed to lose 30 pounds in 2012. And he did it.

“My doctor is psyched,” he says. “He’s real psyched.”

It’s worked out so well, Fountain chuckles, that his wife half-seriously suggested that enough was enough when it came to losing weight. She likes husky guys.

As for next year, he notes that the doctor told him recently, “I’d like to see you lose another 10 pounds.”

Fountain gave the doctor a careful look before replying, “Why don’t you lose 10 pounds?

“You’re the patient,” the doctor retorted. Nevertheless — and his wife’s views notwithstanding — Fountain is resolved to lose those 10 pounds in 2013.

On the flip side of this is Middleton resident Ann Marie Senese, who had a simple resolution for the year past — “I tried not to be so political,” she said with a shrug, adding with a guilty smile, “I did not keep that.”

At which point, she is overcome with a need to explain the difficulty, given the past election and her devotion to candidates like outgoing U.S. Sen. Scott Brown. “I’m hoping he’ll get in again when Sen. (John) Kerry leaves.” (Kerry has been designated to become the secretary of state.)

Senese laughs that her tendency to talk politics can be troublesome. “It causes arguments. Or disagreements.”

Which is why her resolution for 2013 is, what else? To stop talking about politics.

Liz Dellus, who works at Beverly Hospital, is not keen on New Year’s resolutions.

In the past, she’s resolved to lose weight and to quit smoking for the coming year. “I just found I couldn’t keep them.” She gives a knowing smile. “I’m bad.” Part of the problem was her worry that giving up smoking would make losing weight even harder.

“But I finally did quit smoking,” Dellus adds. “It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution.” In fact, it wasn’t a resolution at all. “I just had an anxiety attack.” The experience of the attack had a dramatic aftereffect.

“I woke up and quit smoking the next morning,” she says.

Losing weight continues to present complications — no one can give up eating entirely. Yet, despite her continuing desire to slim down, Dellus rules out making a resolution about it.

Keeping fit was in the mind of Makala Crowley of Salem when she made her resolution last year to work out and get in better shape. Her goal was to “run in a 5K race by the end of the summer. Which I did. And my resolution for 2013 is to continue with that.”

It was the experience of running in Nahant that whet Crowley’s appetite for more racing. Next, she aims for a 10K match. After that, she looks longingly at Mickey Mouse and the half-marathons at Disney World in Florida.

“Most people don’t keep them,” Jeanne Talboudet of Danvers says when asked about New Year’s resolutions.

That’s been enough to dissuade her from ever making them. For that matter, there’s something arbitrary about needing to reform on a certain date.

From time to time, Talboudet admits that she does desire to alter her ways. “I might want to eat more vegetables.”

But she makes the adjustments at the time. “I just change when I’m ready to change.”

In Peabody at A & L Liquors, Nick Hiou isn’t making resolutions because — though he’s too modest to admit it — he’s all about resolution all the time. Attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he studies finance, Hiou is resolved in general to study more and learn all he can about finance.

“I want to pay more attention to current events in finance,” he said.

But he sees this as something he ought to do as a matter of course in order to improve both his grades and his chances of landing a good job. He’s never made a formal resolution, not at New Year’s, not ever. “I’ve never thought about it.”

And he’s not about to start in 2013.