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New Year resolutions are about renewal

Decluttering and reorganizing closets is a resolution for the home. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Online New Year's resolutions for 2017 range from being more healthy and wealthy to spiritual and personal growth, and local professionals recommend setting obtainable goals and starting slow.

Resolutions are goals to start the year on a positive note, said Stacey Hunt, a licensed clinical psychologist with South Central Human Service Center in Jamestown. She said people look to stop something unhealthy or improve and become a better version of themselves.

"When I think about what makes a great goal, it should be something challenging but something specific and measurable," Hunt said.

A specific rather than a general goal helps people find a starting point and keep track of success, she said. A goal to practice yoga three times a week is more manageable than a goal to just exercise more, she said.

Quitting smoking could start as a goal to cut smoking in half for two weeks and then stop altogether for another two weeks, she said. Quitting for good is more than realistic, she said.

"Short-term goals have frequent victories," Hunt said. "It works better than ambiguous, open-ended and huge goals where you never know when you've met the goal."

Recognize that mistakes will be made, she said. Expect failure along the way but keep trying, she said.

"The real progress and change comes when we dust ourselves off and try again," Hunt said.

Theme-based resolutions offer an underlying goal to help direct thinking and decision making, Hunt said. Someone might choose patience as a theme to work into all aspects of life throughout the year, she said. Another might choose adventure as a theme to be open to better experiences all year.

"It may be easier than making a specific concrete goal for some people," she said.

New Year's resolutions for the home are also popular.

Carmen Waldie, a designer with Home Design Center in Jamestown and Valley Flooring in Valley City, said better organization of every space is a great goal. Each room, closet and cabinet can be designed to increase space by 50 percent, she said.

"Before deciding to build an addition make sure the existing space is more usable," Waldie said.

Other goals could include improving lighting and flooring she said.

LED (light-emitting diode) lighting might cost more upfront, but it will pay for itself over time and is better lighting, she said. Hard flooring such as vinyl wood planking is easier to clean and doesn't hold allergens like carpets, she said.

"The flooring industry is going more to hard surface, waterproof flooring," she said. "It is buyer friendly and also do it yourself, as you don't need a lot of tools to do it and be successful."

Spiritual growth is a goal of many people as Christian websites note praying, reading the Bible and being more compassionate and loving as top goals.

The new year is a cycle of renewal that is central to the idea of recommitment to faith, said the Rev. Michelle Brennan, family life director at First United Methodist Church in Jamestown.

"The new year is looked at as a time of looking forward to the future with hope," Brennan said.

Health is at the top of most online New Year's resolution lists. Rachel Liechty with the former James River Family Fitness said success with fitness goals comes with a holistic approach from all areas of life.

"Find something that you enjoy doing and have a partner or a team for working out," she said. "People succeed when there is emotional as well as physical interaction."

Matt Eggl, owner and general manager of Anytime Fitness in Jamestown, said people should understand that it takes commitment to a routine and nutrition to succeed in the long term.

"There are a lot of different things that go into staying successful with a fitness routine," Eggl said. "You have to get to the point where you enjoy it and that is ultimately where you will keep it going at a regular basis."

Fitness resolutions fail when people say they are too busy, he said. Schedule exercise into the calendar just like any other appointment and don't break it, he said.

"Work it into the mindset," Eggl said. "Once people see the results then they mentally buy into it and want to keep going."