Dear Grandparenting: What is so hard about setting a goal and doing what it takes to achieve it? That’s what life is all about in my opinion, but my grandkids don’t have a clue.
This occurs to me every year after hearing my grandkids make big announcements about their New Year resolutions and all the changes to come. I’m still waiting.
Growing up, I promised myself I would do what was needed in order to get what I wanted. All along the way, I had to set goals to get better, in different ways at different times. Failing to plan is planning to fail. As for the grandkids, I’m sure history will repeat itself. Those New Year resolutions melt away in a few weeks, and then they’re back one year later with the same problems and same resolutions. Does that sound like progress? Jayson Marzino, Boston, Massachussetts
Dear Jayson: Thank the ancient Romans for our New Year resolution frenzy, who began each year making promises to their god Janus for whom January is named. And although people the world over continue the custom, Americans are the most avid resolution-makers, reflecting our nation’s enduring belief in personal responsibility and its booming personal self-improvement industry.
But as many know from their own experience, the results are underwhelming. According to one recent survey of 3,000 individuals, 50% of Americans resolved to improve this or that during the year, and 90% came up short.
Personal change coaches say the trick is sustaining the necessary motivation to achieve lasting change. Heartfelt goals that come from within stand a better chance of success than goals others lay down.
Goals that are concrete, measurable and attainable (lose 10 pounds) are easier to attain than broad, wide-ranging goals. Starting off with smaller goals can provide the confidence to tackle larger ones. Sharing your resolution with others helps too. Social pressure is a powerful driver.
Researchers recently discovered that humans have a limited amount of willpower, so there’s probably not enough in the tank for two resolutions. One at a time is about all we can handle, grandparents and grandchildren alike.
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Grand remark of the week
Lucie Smith from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania set aside a room for her young grandchildren to play in when they visit.
It’s where she keeps all toys, crayons, children’s books and games. She also keeps a plaque on one wall to “help me regain some sanity when the grandkids get on my nerves.”
The plaque reads “Lord, give me patience, and I want it now!”
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.