Are New Year’s Resolutions goals, ideas or commitments?
January 2, 2015
As the New Year begins, many people think about improving their lives and make New Year’s resolutions.
Like counting down to midnight, resolutions are a time-old tradition that historians say started with the ancient Babylonians, who vowed to return borrowed objects and pay debts during the upcoming days.
Over the centuries, resolutions have come to include the popular challenges of losing weight and getting healthy, spending more time with family or becoming more financially responsible.
For local residents contemporary instrumentalist Ryan Stewart, former Park City Film Series Executive Director and world traveler Destiny Grose and rock guitarist Chase Kroesche, New Year’s resolutions mean different things.
The three spoke with The Park Record about their views on the effectiveness of resolutions and what they would like to accomplish this year.
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Stewart, who recently released his third album, "One Journey," earlier this year, said while he takes New Year’s resolutions seriously, he doesn’t make them in the traditional way.
"I don’t really plan things at the end or beginning of the year," he said. "I usually start planning when the weather starts warming up in the late spring and early summer, because that’s when I really want to be out doing some of these things."
Stewart also doesn’t feel like his resolutions are considered typical.
"I have bucket lists, things that I want to do in my life," he said. "Since life is all about experiencing things, I will ask myself what are the things that I want to accomplish."
At the same time, Stewart doesn’t consider these things as a "to-do" list. They are more like goals.
"What I really I mean is what do I want to experience in the upcoming year," he explained. "For example, this past year, my list included completing an album, which I did, and learning Japanese."
Stewart broke things down even more when assessing his goals.
"This year, I want to learn 1,000 Japanese words," he said. "That’s a big undertaking, because Japanese is a difficult language to learn, but I’m intrigued by the country’s culture and the language."
The musician also wants to set up a 2015 10-date concert tour for himself and other musicians, as well as run his second marathon.
"One of my past resolutions that I did accomplish was to run my first marathon three years ago," Stewart said. "At that time, I wasn’t a runner at all. So to run 26 miles under four hours made me feel great. When I crossed that finish line, I was so happy, and it made me see that if I could put my mind in accomplishing a goal, I can do it."
Another past resolution for Stewart was to learn Arabic.
"I remember when I first played some conversation tapes and felt so overwhelmed, but now I play them and can understand what they’re saying," he said.
All of Stewart’s resolutions are hinged on where he is in his life and what he values.
"They also help me feel more engaged in life," he said. "That’s why I think resolutions are important. They challenge me. They keep me healthy and keep me moving forward."
For more information about Ryan Stewart’s music, visit http://www.ryanstewartmusic.com.
Grose, like Stewart, believes in New Year’s resolutions, but doesn’t think conventional resolutions work.
"I have journals and journals filled with optimistic starts, but I feel that if you’re lucky, you sometimes work on a resolution for about a month," she said. "Then if you’re not lucky, you work on one for maybe three days."
However, Grose does think that everyone wants to start out the New Year with the best intentions of being their better selves.
"I know people make vague resolutions with good intentions," she said. "I also know some people make specific ones in hopes that being precise may help them keep them."
Grose, who falls in the middle of these extremes, said she took some time a few days ago to think about different things she could change in her life and how to stick to that commitment.
"I got out my new journal and thought about what kinds of resolutions I would like to try, including some crazy ones like going to Paris as quickly as I could," Grose said with a laugh. "I also thought about seeing a movie a week and things like that."
Grose, who confessed that she usually keeps a New Year’s resolution for about a week, decided to try an experiment this year.
"I thought what if I picked something new and did it for seven days," she said. "I decided that I would reflect on my life at the beginning of each week and see what need to do and then go at it all or nothing for a week and then move on."
Grose also decided to implement a back-up plan just in case she ran out of ideas.
"I wrote down some random ideas on little slips of paper and put them in a jar, so I could draw one if I can’t decide what to do," she said. "It’s kind of like the surprise when you pick something out of a jar, and it also feels like someone else is giving me an assignment."
One of her ideas includes organizing her home.
"I could tackle and clean out all the closets in my house, which would be interesting," Grose said with a laugh. "There are closets that haven’t been opened in years."
Another idea is to get artistic and visit galleries and museums.
"I could also focus on nature and do things outside," she said. "Or during the Sundance Film Festival I could take some super vitamins and drink a bunch of energy drinks and attend all the screenings I want."
The idea for the week-long resolutions stemmed from another experiment Grose did last year.
"I wanted to learn different things about the world and I would pick at topic and then study it for three days," she said. "That was cool."
following this system, Grose can see her accomplishing her resolutions.
"Resolutions make you look back on your life and think about what you can change to make yourself a better person," she said. "The problem is if you are any way accountable, you feel really bad if a resolution falls on the wayside. So, if you make a week commitment and slack off one day, you can go harder the next and not feel as guilty."
Kroesche, a locally-based guitarist who cut his teeth playing at Molly Blooms, the Egyptian Theatre and the Orion Music Festival, moved to Los Angeles, Calif., 3 ½ years ago to play music and attend USC.
The musician takes a different approach to resolutions much differently than Stewart and Grose.
"In general, I don’t really put much thought in New Year’s resolutions because I have found that many people who make them don’t keep them," he said. "I know resolutions work for some people, and if so, they should go for it, but this is something that I’ve always thought, because no one in my family has been into making New Year’s resolutions."
Still, Kroesche does take time to make a list of changes based on what he’s done throughout the past year.
"From there I can take steps to change a situation that hasn’t made me happy," he said.
For the past few years, Kroesche has made attempt to take himself a little less seriously.
"I want to find different ways to be able to relax and enjoy the moment," he explained. "Each time we get the New Year, we always think how the past year has flown by. So, I think it’s important to take time and savor those moments with family and friends."
Being away at school has helped the guitarist shape this mindset.
"As much as I love Los Angeles, it’s always great to come home," he said. "Since being away, there are many things that I love about Utah. This area has such a great art and food scene."
Kroesche, whose official website is chasetheband.com, knows he has some big decisions to make this year.
"I’m about to move into my senior year in college and I have to figure out what I want to do with my life," he said. "I know that at this stage of my life, I’m not sure where those decisions are going to take me, but I do know that I have to follow my gut. I think resolutions are like that. You need to follow what you believe."
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