Dear Grandparenting: My grandchildren call me The Boss. I am pretty much of a no-nonsense, early to bed and early to rise individual. I worked in banking for 27 years, including branch manager and corporate. So I’m not the type to get carried away by idiotic misadventures. But every year come mid-January, I’m feeling like a total idiot for messing up my New Year resolutions again and again and again.

It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost a family joke. My grandkids like to ride me about it, like “Hey Boss Lady, are you slip-sliding back again?” Then I ask them how many resolutions they’ve kept lately. Since that shuts them up, I assume none.

But every year I’m back for more with a couple of my New Year resolutions. So far I’m right on track to keep both of mine, cross my fingers. Is there any hope for us wannabe promise keepers? I’d sure like to show my grandchildren that their old granny still delivers. The Boss, Chicago, Illinois

Dear Boss: If you made it this far, you’re already doing better than most. Many stumble right out of the gate, and only a fraction — perhaps as low as 8 percent — are able to keep their resolutions.

Win, lose or draw, you have plenty of company in this annual collective quest to diet, lose weight and exercise, or read more — the top two resolutions for 2017, according to Twitter. (Rounding out the top five were learn something new, save money and be a nicer human.) America is the self-improvement capital of the world, say observers, a nation that came of age under the prevailing Protestant values of personal industry and responsibility.

It’s not surprising we fail, since we typically focus on achieving goals or tasks we’ve been chasing a good while. The very thought we intend to make a change feels good in the moment, so we predict it will feel equally good in the future — affective forecasting in psychology-speak. Resolutions collapse commencing Jan. 1, when actions required to change lose their glow or don’t feel as good as that ice cream looks at the moment.

Is there hope? For starters, a couple of resolutions is one too many — we only have so much willpower, according to recent research. Besides making too many resolutions overly broad or too big commonly trips people up. Instead of a marathon, how about running twice weekly? We like the acronym SMART — for goals that are specific, measurable, accountable, realistic and time-specific.

Don’t underestimate the power of like-minded company. “For a habit to stay changed, people must believe change is possible,” said Charles Duhigg, author of the best seller, “The Power of Habit.” “And most often, that belief only emerges with the help of a group.”


Rosie from Kingsport, Tennessee, says she lives by this rule: “Blessed Are Those Who Snuggle, Hug, Spoil, Pamper, Boast and Brag, For They Shall Be Called Grandparents.”

By Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.