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As 2014 approaches, many of us think about ways to change our lives for the better in the new year. Many make a big deal about resolutions, but the reality is most of us don’t keep them for very long.

The practice of making resolutions goes back to the ancient Babylonians, who promised to repay their debts in the year ahead and return any objects they had borrowed. The Romans made the same promises to their god Janus, who was a two-headed god. He looked both behind and ahead, which is where we get the name of our first month of the calendar year. Even medieval knights took what was called a “peacock vow” to renew their vows of chivalry.

I’m guessing the knights kept their vows for the most part, but the Babylonians and Romans might have been in the same boat as many of us: the resolutions went by the wayside by the end of January. A study in 2007 showed that 88% of all people who make resolutions fail. That success rate makes you wonder why people even try.

But try we do, and those who find success can feel even better about themselves; after all, they’re a small percentage! Studies have also shown that the success rate goes up when the resolution is shared with others. With that in mind, I’d like to share some resolutions that maybe we can all work on together and find success in some shared goals.

One area I’d like to improve is judging other people. It’s very easy to do that, and I’m certainly guilty of it in this column. There are times someone needs to be called out or a discussion can ensue about certain actions from prominent figures in the news. However, in day-to-day life, this is an area I can improve, and I’m guessing I’m not alone.

If it’s one thing Mr. Bunn has brought to our school as the principal, it’s to look at the whole person before we pass judgment. It’s easy to get upset with a student who does not do any work or who takes attitude with you, but sometimes there is more to the story. Maybe the child’s parents are going through a divorce. Maybe someone in the family was diagnosed with an illness. Maybe Dad lost his job or Mom got evicted.

All these things can lead to a student acting out or not being motivated to work. We should try to help that student through the difficult time but also give the child a comforting place in which he or she can feel safe and wanted, which might not always be the case at home.

I can always work on being a better father and husband. Again, many of you might be able to say the same; I don’t know if any of us are ever perfect.

I don’t always understand the needs of my kids and sometimes get frustrated when I can see a clear solution to their problem, but they cannot. Sometimes logic does not take center stage, and the better I understand that, the better parent I can be.

I don’t always express my feelings to Michelle either. Too many times, I have too much going on in my head, and I fail to tell her something important or don’t listen enough when she has something to tell me. As you read this, maybe you can relate. Michelle and I have a great marriage, but I know it’s an area that many couples find needs work and constant vigilance.

There are times I feel I am too busy. It seems there is something going on every evening and/or some meeting at school that I need to attend. Instead of cutting back, I have at least tried to stop taking on more. I’ve got to start limiting the stretching I do to accommodate the needs of others, or the people closest to me will suffer, as will I.

The kids will always keep me busy, and that’s great. I want them to be involved and try new things. They’re learning too that sometimes there is only so much they can do, but finding those boundaries is a great life skill to know already.

Won’t you join me in trying to become a better person? I know I’m not alone in these resolutions, and maybe together we can be part of the 12% that succeed!

Word of the Week: This week’s word is importune, which means to ask someone repeatedly to do something, as in, “The columnist importuned his readers week after week to make progress on their shared resolutions.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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