Best wishes for a Happy New Year to all!

Whatever your hopes are for 2018, it’s good to know we live in a supportive, generous community

It’s difficult to believe yet another year is about to come to a close.

The old saying certainly seems to ring true – time appears to go by faster as a person gets older!

This past year certainly brought much in the way of news — locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. Economic struggles continue to plague many countries. Conflicts rage on. Tragedies such as mass shootings devastated us all.

Tensions between nations escalated in some cases. Political divisiveness defines much of what’s going on south of the border as well.

When we look around us, Canadians should take time at the dawn of a new year to consider how blessed and fortunate we are to call this nation home.

There are hardships to be sure, but what we endure compared to what many face puts things into clear, sobering perspective.

It brings to mind an image that used to circulate on the Internet. One side of the picture shows emaciated children with their hands extended, presumably reaching for food.

The other side shows frazzled Christmas shoppers with shopping carts loaded up with every gadget imaginable. The words ‘Define necessity’ underlines the images. It’s a powerful reminder of what matters.

In spite of the spectrum of events that 2017 held, New Year’s Day, as it does every year, brings with it a sense of optimism. It gives us the feeling of having a fresh start, adding to the sense that whatever hardships may have been endured, there’s reason to press forward with hope.

It’s also that time of year again when folks sign up for fitness programs or pledge to get rid of a bunch of bad habits – all in the name of New Year’s Resolutions.

According to Wikipedia, the most popular resolutions are plans to lose weight, pay off debts, save money, get a better job, get fit, eat right, get a better education, drink less, quit smoking, reduce stress, take a trip or volunteer more.

Indeed. Resolutions run the gamut from bolstering one’s personal health to making a difference in the world at large.

But unfortunately, most people, regardless of their specific New Year’s resolutions, see plans fall flat by February.

When January dawns, people are fed up with rich food and feeling lethargic. It’s easy to shell out the cash for the gym membership, for example. But appetites for bad foods, passivity or smokes eventually resurface. So resolutions tend to get pushed further ahead.

But human nature being what it is, our behaviour isn’t likely to change much when the weather warms up. So why do people ditch resolutions?

First, examine your motivation for change.

Secondly, set realistic goals and focus on behavioural change more than the goal. It’s also important to allow for imperfection. And whatever your plans, put them into motion now — don’t put off strategies for a changed lifestyle any longer.

Whatever your hopes and plans are for 2018, it’s good to know we also live in a supportive and generous community.

It’s great to see how Red Deerians band together to lend a helping hand.

Knowing that we have a community that consistently steps up to help does offer a kind of tonic for frazzled nerves in today’s constantly changing world. Strength does lie in that sense of community, and that’s something we can count on in 2018.

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