It's the time of year when, for many, decisions are made to either leave bad habits behind with the concluding year, or bring in good habits with the coming one. Some Minot residents and visitors were ambushed and asked a question: What do you resolve to do in 2013?
The first New Year's resolution usually mentioned is weight loss. In fact, if as many resolvers are successful in 2013 as there are weight loss resolutions, something else will have to take the top spot for 2014, and the exercise industry will lose out on a profitable quarter. Fortunately, it seems like the success rate must be pretty low to keep that resolution coming year after year.
Interestingly, people rarely seem to hinge their weight loss resolution as eating healthy. More often, it was to exercise, expressly with the qualifier of exercising to lose weight. Or, neither exercise nor health in general were mentioned, just weight loss.
Jesse D. Watson/MDN • From left to right: Tami, Mason and Ian Scott — with an anonymous Scott female on the bench behind them — and Tami’s mother, Gwen Haaland take a break from shopping at Dakota Square. All are from Oxbow, Sask., and not one of them has a resolution this year.
Jesse D. Watson/MDN • Dress Barn employees, left to right: sales associate Jessy Bakke, and assistant managers Brooke Crowder and Callie Cook, demonstrate Crowder’s heavily pregnant state of physical being.
Jesse D. Watson/MDN • Joanna Moss and Bernice Nachtegaele spend a moment considering their New Year’s resolutions.
Some begin an exercise regimen to lose weight but keep at it for other reasons.
"I just feel good," a middle-aged man of average build confided. "My resolution last year was to exercise, trim up. Well, I did exercise all year, but my resolution is still to trim up," he laughed, patting his stomach.
"I want to be skinny," a teenage girl, who appeared to the common eye to already be quite lithe, said. When asked how she intended to accomplish this feat, "Eating less!" was her solution, "but don't put my name in the paper saying that."
She, like the exercising man and a surprising number of others, agreed to be quoted only on the condition of anonymity.
"It's just embarrassing," her boyfriend said, face pointed at the floor. "Everybody wants to lose weight, but nobody wants to admit it."
He was eating a waffle cone sundae from a bowl. "I haven't started yet, obviously," he said, between bites.
"It's okay." His girlfriend patted his arm. "You've got a few days to go."
They were also Minot High students on Christmas vacation, so maybe celebration was in order. She, however, was not partaking in ice cream.
Lance Effertz has a simple watermark to hit in 2013. "I'm going to take my shirt off in public whether I like it or not. So the goal is to look less like Chris Farley, I guess." He was going to minimize his undressing anxiety with a few easy rules. "Drink two glasses of water before every meal, avoid sugar as a sweetener, and park at the far end of the parking lot. Boom! You're skinny!"
Bernice Nachtengaele, who was shopping with Joanna Moss, said she wanted to walk at least 4 miles per day.
Moss agreed. "It's just good to get moving."
Of course, not all resolutions had to be about health, exercise, fitness, eating or weight loss.
Donna Cole, whose job in the Minot High-Central Campus lunch room includes cooking, supervising, hiring, and smiling at kids, has a different kind of project for 2013. She wants to get her estate and affairs in order for the event of her passing, even though she doesn't necessarily expect it anytime soon.
"My dad died three years ago, the day after Christmas," she explained. I woke up thinking about [my estate] today. It was weird."
She says she doesn't want to burden her bereaved with it all when the time comes. "It's such a gift, having it done ahead of time. People are already at a low."
She wasn't interested in the typical weight loss goals. "If I'm going anyway, I want to enjoy my meals!" she joked. "I'll get a bigger coffin!"
Dan Rust was concise. "To obey my wife!" he declared. When asked if she has good directives, he replied, "It's best to obey her commands," and smiled. "They keep me out of trouble."
Margo Ehr, who was shopping at the Gourmet Chef downtown with her daughter, just wants to have a good year after the challenges of the previous few. She was well on the way, all smiles, but after weathering the Souris River flood of 2011 and losing both her husband and mother recently, she wants to make 2013 a good one. She said she's thankful for having had a great Christmas.
Ehr's daughter, who lives in the Twin Cities, didn't have a resolution. "It's just not something I really think about."
Actually, having no resolution probably tied wanting to lose weight for the most responses.
Lee Aftem, after some quiet pondering, had no resolution.
Tammy Forman, a picture framer and clerk at Art Main, didn't have one either, and she summed it up mirthfully for herself. "I can say I'll do things, but that doesn't mean I will!"
At Dakota Square, there was a whole family of nonresolvers, hailing from Oxbow, Sask., sitting peacefully on benches taking a rest.
Tami Scott, the mother, had a long "hmmmm" before admitting, "I don't have one."
"Do you have one, Mason?" she asked of her son.
Mason Scott, 13, smiled sheepishly and shook his head. "No."
"Does anybody have one?" Tami laughed.
"I don't," her husband, Ian Scott, reported. He then poked at an anonymous, lurking Scott seated on the bench behind them, facing the other direction. "Have you got one?" he asked of her.
The anonymous one, presumably Tami and Ian's daughter, did not.
Nor did the grandmother, Gwen Haaland. They all posed placidly for a photo, though, except the anonymous, lurking Scott, the back of whom's head still appears.
On a bench elsewhere, Dawn Davis asserted her desire to give up bingo.
"Well, I don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs," she said, "so there really isn't a whole lot for me to give up!"
After a pause, "I really do have to give up bingo, though. I'm going to."
Employees at the Dress Barn had some interesting thoughts.
Brooke Crowder, an assistant manager, said, "My resolution is to have a baby!" At more than 7 months pregnant, she looked as though she will easily achieve her goal.
"I guess having my baby will make me lose weight, too," Crowder mused. "So my resolutions are to have a baby and lose weight!"
Callie Cook, also an assistant manager, wanted to ride that wave of achievement. "Since we're talking about things that will easily happen, my resolution is to win the lottery. Can I do that?" She hoped Crowder's inevitable success would rub off on her.
Jessy Bakke, a sales associate, had put some thought into hers.
"Well, one of my resolutions is to smile more," she said solemnly, ironically not smiling, but began smiling when this was pointed out.
"People are always telling me I should smile more often because I have a beautiful smile. Maybe I don't think that, but I do believe I should take their advice. After all that happened in 2012, personally, nationally, globally, I believe I should take every opportunity to smile."
She took a moment to consider before finishing.
"Sometimes just forcing yourself to smile creates real smiles."
Some resolutions, if successful, can make a big person smaller. Other resolutions can be small but cause big changes, and maybe make a big, scary world seem a bit smaller, and friendlier.