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Lakes area residents share wishes for the new year

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A new year presents a fresh start, an opportunity to tie change into an event to give it a jump start or a chance to assess where you’ve been and where you want to go.

Statistic Brain reports 45 percent of Americans usually make new year’s resolutions while 38 percent “absolutely never” make them. The percentage of people who are successful in achieving those resolutions? Eight percent.

But here’s the rub. Research finds people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals that those who do not. Annually, resolutions involve changes to be better on a variety of fronts — with the ultimate goal of being a healthier and happier person. The goals are hard to argue with but the more generic the thought, the harder it may be to grasp.

Statistic Brain reported the top 10 resolutions last year were to lose weight, be more organized, spend less and save more, enjoy life to the fullest, stay fit and healthy, learn something exciting, quit smoking, help others in their dreams, fall in love, spend more time with family.

Forbes recently quoted a Stanford University study showing people increase their probability of achieving a goal by 70 percent just by writing it down.

At the Westgate Mall, people were asked what their resolutions were for the new year or what they’d like to see in 2013. Some goals were specific, such as stopping a habit of biting nails. Many were looking for a better 2013 compared to a difficult 2012.

Bob Bjorge was walking at the mall with his wife Helen. The Baxter residents hope the new year brings improved health for them and a relative going through back surgery. Since Bjorge retired in 2003, the couple has been driving to Florida during the winter to get a break from the cold.

“It’s a good time with our grandchildren and our daughter and son-in-law,” Bjorge said.

Jodi Bradley hoped the new year brings “peace and tranquility.” The Brainerd resident said she wished for less violence all over the world after 2012.

“How about warm weather, too,” Bradley said.

“I would just like to live healthier — hopefully stick to my eating habits,” said Serina Poppen of Brainerd. “Sticking to my gym membership that I have and never go to. I have it and I think I’ve went like twice in the last month.”

Her friend Ashley Olson’s new year wish will require actions that may be beyond her control. “I want my boyfriend, how do I put it ... straighten up,” Olson said.

“Hopefully to have more fun, me and her both, we are like together every single day, we just want to like have a great year — better than 2012,” Poppen said, noting they wanted to dedicate that in loving memory of good friends Nick Brady and Haile Kifer, the teenagers from Little Falls who were killed Thanksgiving Day.

Nearby, Ashlee Herriges was holding her 5-month-old daughter Aftyn as her family had a snack by Dairy Queen. Her wishes for the coming year echoed the sentiments of others.

“Health and happiness for our friends and families.”

Ione Miles of Lake Shore said her goal was to stop worrying.

“I don’t make them anymore,” Dick Miles said of new year resolutions. “Why set yourself up for failure.

Everybody has the same one don’t they? Everybody says they are going to lose weight. They are going to get healthy. They are going to eat healthy.”

Ione Miles said, “My hope for the new year is that the Congress and Legislature can start working together and cooperate and make the decisions on what’s best for America.”

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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