Column: New Year's resolutions: Give them up and start again

Today, Jan. 17, is Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day, but there may be a Made in Richmond solution

Do you tire of those unofficial days in the calendar that random people make up to market or celebrate something we could easily live without…Valentine’s Day, for example?

This Thursday, Jan. 17, however, marks a very useful day where you can apparently “set yourself free from your first mistakes of the New Year.” Sounds good to me.

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During this special 24 hours – titled “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day” (DNYRD) – we can, guilt-free, pretend those statements made in the first light of the year never even happened.

Promises such as getting fitter, eating healthier, drinking less alcohol and not swearing while behind the wheel have all been test-driven by this writer, with the latter not seeing past Jan. 2, this year (I commute Highway 99 to Richmond).

I’ve had much less trouble with the first item on the aforementioned list; forged on Jan. 1, 2016 where my daily routine started with 100 push-ups every morning (except weekends, holidays and birthdays) and at least one hour of exercise.

The second promise, on Jan. 1, 2017, was a Monday to Thursday gig, requiring plowing through a big bowl of salad for lunch (for the first course) and, during the day, at least one piece of fruit and a full serving of fresh vegetables.

The third, on Jan. 1 2018, was also a Monday to Thursday venture, which was doing well for a while until an angry Wednesday in February (could have been Valentine’s Day?), resulting in a bottle of cab sav breaking the run.

It’s not easy to keep these lifestyle changes burning throughout the year, with hidden hurdles lying in wait to trip us up and send us back to our old habits.

The path of reeling back in our bold proclamations at the first sign of a struggle is a well-trodden one.

We are, after all, creatures of habit and the trick is cementing those new habits into our daily routine, which usually takes at least a month to form.

But why should convention dictate that we have to wait until the first day of January to make a change to our lives? Surely it can be done on any one of the 365 days of the year?

A sizable barrier in fulfilling most of these precarious promises is the removal of choice.

Once we’ve boxed ourselves into a corner with resolutions, the allure of that diet or gym membership fades fast.

So, for those whose resolutions are hanging by a thread or for those didn’t even bother to try, there is a “Made in Richmond” solution that requires very little commitment, if any.

It’s called the Richmond Olympic Parkrun and, here’s the kicker, it’s absolutely free. I’ve partaken twice recently. It’s an obligation-free 5K run along the Middle Arm Dike Trail every Saturday at 9 a.m. (see page 17)

It’s run by a merry band of volunteers, who take it in turn to organize the event, which you can have electronically timed if you sign up online at

Don’t worry if you’re not a runner, there are joggers, dog-walkers and parents with baby-strollers.

There really is no excuse not to go. And you can give it up and start again…on any day of the year you see fit.

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