WILLIAMSTOWN — We are only 10 days into the new year, and according to statistics, 92 percent of the people who made New Year's resolutions have already broken them.

I was about 10 years old when I first made New Year's resolutions. I was the baby in the family and looked up to my two older sisters, and when I heard them talking about their New Year's resolutions, it seemed the right thing to do.

My goals for that year were to brush my teeth after meals and do well in school.

Now, there would be no point in my making resolutions that surveys show are most popular: I do not smoke, I am a teetotaler, I am not overweight, I am not a couch potato, and I spend as much time as possible with my family.

Admittedly, more often than not I fail to stick to my New Year's resolutions. So I decided to take a new tack this year. Why not use reverse psychology to achieve my goals?

Thus, I have made the following reversed resolutions:.

1. Stop believing everything is possible with hard work and persistence.

How dull life would be if I did not attempt to achieve what the timid call "impossible"? With every attempt, a door of opportunity has opened to me that otherwise would have remained closed to me.

2. Stop inventing excuses for people when they disappoint me.

I simply acknowledge that circumstances can be cruel and prevent people from carrying out promises or plans. And I forgive people who disappoint me as I would want them to do if I were in their place.


One person did not communicate with me for a month after breaking a promise. "I was too ashamed to speak to you," he said remorsefully when he finally called. It would have been hard-hearted, I feel, not to tell him, "What's done is done. Let's forget it."

5. Stop thinking my age does not define me.

For however long I live, I never want to consider myself too old to learn.

Travel can be a great educator, but even sitting at home, book in hand, I have flown around the world on the wings of words, and have learned much about different cultures.

Through biographies and auto-biographies, which are among my favorite reads, I feel that I know past and present celebrities, presidents and diplomats, and what makes/made them tick.

Everybody we meet has a story to tell, but if we are not willing to listen, they are like books we do not open, never to benefit from what they contain. Men and women of the older generation are like history books, having lived through events of the 1900s that changed the world, such as World War II.

6. My sixth resolution is on the lighter side: Stop being silly (I like to make people laugh).

I realize such behavior is acceptable only under certain conditions, and usually am a proper lady, as my mother taught me to be.

7. Stop encouraging certain people to overcome their propensity for pessimism. They see everything through dark colored glasses and talk incessantly of doom and gloom. How sad.

8. Stop trying to master technology products.

Even though it would have been easier to stick to my old methods, I have found change to be stimulating and satisfying.

But I am still a work in progress, and occasionally offend my new computer, which is very sensitive. It punishes me by acting up. If I am pressed for time to complete a research project or write a story, I panic because I do not know how to make amends.

Fortunately, I know a computer guru who is able to calm both me and my computer.

Phyllis McGuire writes from Williamstown.