By Ryan Peterson, Osakis Economic Development Authority board member

A New Year’s resolution. Sounds like something that would really make the world a better place.

People deciding to take better care of themselves in regard to their weight, diet and their appearance. People wanting to be more courteous by holding the door open for others, giving more compliments or doing a certain amount of random acts of kindness.

Some people go forward with external resolutions by offering to volunteer more, planting some trees or giving more blood. People could be making resolutions to get better grades at school, expand their knowledge of their career or mend tensions with certain co-workers. Some people go more in line with financial goals, like putting away a certain amount for retirement this coming year or being able to pay for their child’s ever rising college expense.

What if all of those resolutions that you and I make all come to fruition? What if all those health, moral and financial benefits that people are striving for are actually met? That John and Jane Doe were able to put enough away in their savings account to buy that new boat they’ve been eyeing. That their neighbors lost a bunch of weight and are now racing together in their first 5K or 10K? Or their friends from the other side of town kept their resolution to do more random acts of kindness and changed the lives of people they’ve never met? It’s thoughts like these that help people create New Year’s resolutions.

A New Year’s resolution is something that just about anybody can make, but keeping it and living with that lifestyle change is what really separates those that succeed in their resolution goals and those that let it slowly (or in some cases, quickly) wither away. How can we stop the withering? I don’t want your goal or my goal to fade away, so we should do something about it!

In order to be successful this year, we need to first make sure our goals are attainable and realistic with specific measurements. Just saying you want to lose weight or save more money isn’t going to be enough. It’s an incomplete goal. Simply adding a number to that sentence brings it to a whole new level. “I want to lose 5 pounds this month.” “I want to save an extra $100 per month this year.” Lastly, saying how you’re going to do it completes your New Year’s resolution. “I’m going to lose 5 pounds this month by going for a 20-minute walk on the weekdays.” “I’m going to save an extra $100 per month this year by bringing my lunch to work instead of ordering out.”

Moving forward with goals like that make making a New Year’s resolution, and keeping it, a fun and rewarding way to kick off the New Year! So, you might as well do a favor for not only your own self, but perhaps also your neighbors, your friends or people you haven’t even met yet and stay true to those New Year’s resolutions we all make! Instead of saying, “Hindsight is 20/20,” let’s use some future sight and take control of 2020!

• • •

Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.