The new year is almost a month old, and already some may be struggling to keep resolutions to get in shape, expand horizons or stop bad habits.
Making it a full year is a daunting task. But those who stuck to their goals all the way through 2012 are proof that it can be done.
The Columbian asked readers to submit their tales of success to inspire others to stick with it. Here are their stories:
Surviving the soda temptation
Melissa Gentile, Orchards
In our house, drinking soda has always been considered a treat — a special drink reserved for restaurants, birthday parties or other occasions.
Imagine my surprise when our 11-year-old son announced in January (2012) that he had decided to give up drinking all soda for the year.
Wanting to encourage this commitment but seeing the potential for temptation, I reminded Liam that this type of resolve had to withstand birthday parties, school events and overnights at friends' houses.
He didn't seem fazed. Through the year, I watched proudly as our son "just said no" to his favorite root beer, cola, orange and grape sodas at birthday parties and other events.
As his 12th birthday approached, I asked him if he wanted to avoid serving soda at his own party. We could simply offer pitchers of water and lemonade.
"No, I'll be OK. It's not really fair to my friends," was his reply.
I noticed the occasional wistful glance of the pitchers served with pizza at Big Al's, but Liam's resolve stood firm.
Liam's dad and I gladly joined him in his effort and we noticed that Liam's choices inspired his pre-teen friends to reduce their soda intake throughout the year.
As New Year's Eve approached, Liam's excitement to break the soda fast increased. We purchased an IBC root beer and had it chilling in our friend's refrigerator. As we rang in 2013, Liam retrieved his drink and after a few breath-holding moments looking for a bottle opener, he enjoyed his first soda in nearly a year. Mission accomplished.
Giving himself one week's reprieve, Liam has doubled his commitment for 2013. He has decided to avoid soda and all refined sugar. No birthday cake?!? He inspires me, and I am very proud of him.
Twelve races in 2012
Nancy Green, Ridgefield/Salmon Creek
I turned 50 in 2012, and I set a goal of running 12 races.
I asked a friend (also named Nancy) to join me, and we were "The Two Nancys." She's a much faster runner than I am, but we crossed all of the finish lines together. We ran eleven 10K races. My final race in December was a 5K holiday race in Portland.
We were running more for fun than for improving our speed until our June race in Redmond, Ore.
We were chatting on the course with an 82-year-old man from Bend named Lew Hollander, who at that point had competed in 12 Ironman World Championship triathalons in Kona.
He eventually passed us. My friend came in second-to-last, and I came in last.
After that, I started running a bit more, and I started wearing a GPS watch to help me keep track of my mileage and my pace. My daughter, who won the Girlfriends Half Marathon in Vancouver once, told me that she is motivated by miles more than time, and that was good advice.
My running inspiration is Pat Dooris, a newscaster from KGW in Portland. My husband sings in a choir with Pat, and when I met him, I complimented him on running the Portland Marathon every year (I had seen him at the race when I volunteered one year).
He told me that he trains by running for five minutes and walking for a minute. I thought, "If he can do it, I can do it!"
So, that's how I train for races. I only had to take one walk break in my last race and I felt pretty strong crossing the finish line.
The best feeling was that I never came in last again!
My favorite place to run in Clark County is the Salmon Creek Greenway. It's a beautiful trail, especially in the fall. It tends to get flooded in the winter, so then I head to the Waterfront Trail or to my neighborhood around WSU Vancouver. When I run or walk around the campus on a clear day, I can see four snow-capped mountains.
Finishing a lifelong project
Daniel M. Ogden Jr., Vancouver
My New Year's resolution for 2012 was to complete my book, "The Development of Federal Power Policy in the Pacific Northwest, Volume II."
I completed it and published the book in December 2012.
"Volume I" was my doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago in 1948-1949. "Volume II" brings that story up to 2012.
Over a period of more than 60 years, I gathered material and participated in part of the development of that policy.
From 1961 to 1968, I was with the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. From 1978 to 1984, I was director of the Office of Power Marketing Coordination in the U.S. Department of Energy. And from 1984 to 1988, I was manager of the Public Power Council in Vancouver.
"Volume II" traces the struggle for upstream storage on the Columbia, the implementation of the treaty with Canada, the Hydrothermal Program, the 1974 Transmission Act, the transfer to the Department of Energy, the Power Planning Act of 1980, Fish and Wildlife, attempts to change the system, the BPA Debt Financing Act, the failure of deregulation, and restructuring and reorganizing proposals.
The book has been of interest to the Bonneville Power Administration and Clark Public Utilities, among other organizations.
Another path to publishing
Tamera Smith Allred, Salmon Creek
Often, goals take on a life of their own.
My 2012 goal to get a book published turned into a website instead.
I am a mental health counselor. But another of my passions is writing.
My writing had taken a back seat. I still picked up the pen in snatches of time and scratched out a rough draft of an inspirational book for women called, "Creating a Life You Love, A Woman's Guide to Peace, Joy, Empowerment and Love in Every Day."
My quest to find an agent and a publisher became daunting as I ran into one dead end after another. I considered self-publishing but felt exhausted just thinking about the demands of that kind of endeavor.
Driving home one Friday after the last appointment of my work week, a surprising little gem of inspiration flowed into my consciousness.
"Start a website and give your book away for free!"
"What!" I thought.
But pondering this idea felt perfect. I didn't care about money or fame. I just wanted to share what I have learned about life with as many other women as possible. And I work well under deadline because of previous experience as a newspaper reporter and columnist.
I didn't know where to begin, but a presentation on addiction I gave led me to a wonderful Web master who spun my words into a beautiful tapestry to send out into the world.
On Dec. 21, 2012 http://www.creatingalifeyoulove.net was launched. I chose that day because the eldest and youngest of my six daughters were born that day.
Launching the website felt like another kind of birth! The website is not a blog, but a book, served up in weekly installments. I don't think I could have the joy of checking this goal off my list if I had not been open to new possibilities. Writing and publishing once again, I have created a life I love!
Five years of fitness
Sandi Alex, Camas
On Aug. 1, 2013, I will complete my fifth year of taking 365 walks in 365 days. To count, a walk must be at least 3 miles (my average daily walk is 3.75 miles).
Since I started walking every day, my health has improved (barely a sniffle), I sleep better and my husband of 35 years says I'm "Smokin' hot!"
If I know I have a day coming up that will not allow me to walk, I allow myself to "bank" a walk, so I stay consistent. My success is based on:
- No excuses, weather, or otherwise. I have walked in 2 feet of snow, hail, wind and bone-chilling cold.
- Good shoes are a must, as well as good rain gear.
- A massive mix of good tunes helps a lot.
I'm not fast, and I'm not especially coordinated. But, I can put one foot in front of the other just fine!
Meeting the self-publishing mark
Melitta Jass Keller, Salmon Creek
My 2012 New Year resolutions were to devote more time on my writing and spend less time with friends.
I was able to self-publish two books, or should I say three books in the 12-month period from December 2011 to December 2012.
The books are called "Tomorrow's People Womb to the Tomb Common Sense," "To the Point Common Sense Guide to a Successful Life" and "Kids Common Sense Guide to a Better Life."
I set out to publish two, so I am very proud of myself for publishing three at age 58.
My 2013 New Year resolutions are to illustrate two of my 40-plus children's books and to use my art skills, which have been siting dormant since high school.
I feel art is in my blood and I just need some pushing. I have one daughter who is an artist in college and one who is a photographer in high school, so I know deep down someplace I must have artistic skills.
Before I got into writing, I thought of designing hats. Hats are fun. So hats are still in the future for me somewhere too.
Another 2013 New Year resolution is to get all my stories on the computer. Half are still sitting in drawers.