Meridian Star

January 2, 2013

Beginning a new year

Local leaders share resolutions

By Terri Ferguson Smith /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     For some New Year revelers, once the party is over it’s time to get down to the business of self-improvement and making new year’s resolutions can be a part of that.

    Those who do set goals for the new year often find that lifestyle changes are difficult. According to a University of Scranton study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 percent of Americans make resolutions, but only 8 percent are successful with them through the end of the year.

    The Meridian Star asked some community leaders what they were resolving to do this year.

    “I am resolving to improve myself physically by exercising at least four days a week,” said Judge Veldore Young, “spiritually by following a read the Bible in a year plan, and intellectually by learning sign language. I hope I will stick to this longer than I last on diets.”

    The Scranton study listed the top 10 resolutions most commonly made by Americans: Lose weight; getting organized; spending less and saving more; enjoying life to the fullest; staying fit and healthy; learning something exciting; quit smoking; and help others in their dreams.

    When asked if he would make any resolutions, Wade Jones, president of East Mississippi Business Development  Corporation, indicated he did not usually do so.

    “My observation is that the majority of resolutions are broken shortly after being made. It is not in our human nature to acknowledge the need for change and certainly difficult to adopt a new behavior,” he said.

    Whether it’s the desire to commit to a diet, exercise plan, workplace or educational goals, a daily devotion, or simply spending more time with family and friends, it is difficult to change our daily activities.  

    Ultimately, these disciplines will bring us a better quality of life striking a balance in the physical, mental, spiritual and social aspects of our life. The late author Stephen Covey emphasized these points in his bestselling book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

    Jones said sustained change in behavior only happens when new principles are internalized and daily activities are planned and executed to bring about the desired change.

    "By focusing on these four areas, we are more likely to achieve a single resolution for the New Year,” Jones said. “Taking personal responsibility for our physical health, spiritual well being, mental health and social relationships will ensure that a New Year’s resolution is successfully adopted.”

    Jones quoted Covey in explaining Habit 7.

    “It is using our unique gifts and endowments to constantly renew ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually, and to renew our relationships. In doing so, we counteract entropy – the tendency of all things to eventually break down.

    “So my New Year’s resolution is to recommit myself to Habit 7, defining daily and weekly goals,” Jones said. “Having achieved this balance in my life in previous years, I have experienced a peace that passes all understanding with God’s help.  A routine exercise program, active involvement in my church, continuous learning and planned activities with family and friends have allowed me to reach the potential that lies within me. It is the habit of daily renewal.”

    Mayor Cheri Barry also has some resolutions for the new year.

    “As a public official, the word resolution carries a great deal of weight. It is a word of commitment and not to be taken lightly,” Barry said. “We at the City of Meridian resolve to continue on the path of oneness for the community. We commit to continue to meet the citizens in their neighborhoods where they live, to hold more town hall meetings and continue to strengthen the bridge between citizens and government. Together, Meridian can accomplish anything we set upon our hearts."

    She has some personal goals as well.

    “I resolve to lose 15 pounds, live a healthier lifestyle and walk five miles every day. I plan to enjoy more family time and live life to the fullest,” Barry said. “I encourage everyone to resolve to spend more time with family and friends, to honor, respect, and love their neighbors, and to give back to your community (to) always pay it forward.”