Dear Grandparenting: My little Belinda has put on a lot of weight. Some days she gets off the school bus in tears after getting teased something terrible. I hear her crying in her room at night. I don’t like crybabies and swore to do something about it.
Then I had a stroke of genius. The timing was perfect. New Year’s Eve is about a resolution to change for the better. And here was my granddaughter, dying to change her eating habits. I said, Belinda, I predict we’ll all see a new you in the new year.
It’s not going to be a walk in the park. It took me 22 years of making a New Year resolution to quit smoking before it took hold. Can you help us find the way out? Marg Villari, Port St. Lucie, FL
Dear Marg: America didn’t invent the concept of new year resolutions, whose origins go back to ancient Rome. It’s practiced worldwide, but nowhere with the fervor of the USA. Something in our national psyche – a booming self-improvement industry and an enduring belief in personal responsibility – makes us resolution diehards.
Most try and try again. Roughly 90% of all New Year resolutions fail according to informed estimates, often within a week. Blessed are those grandchildren who do manage to change habits – personal change coaches say most people underestimate the commitment it requires.
Resolutions that are attainable and specific work best. Instead of losing some weight, start with losing one pound in 10 days. The trick is sustaining motivation. Heartfelt goals from within are stronger motivators than goals set by others.
Establishing a new habit takes about one month of daily repetition. Researchers recently discovered that humans possess a finite amount of willpower. So don’t spread yourself too thin – one resolution is about all we can handle.
Grand remark of the week
Maury Pitts from Seattle, WA was caring for grandson Clark while his parents were on vacation. After Clark came down with a cold, he asked Maury to call school and explain his absence.
“What do I say?” asked Maury.
“Tell them I have a real bad cold today,” said Clark. “Tomorrow doesn’t look good either. After that, who really knows?”
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.