New Year’s resolutions. A lot of people make them, but very few ever stick with them.

Why is this so often the case? Probably because the resolutions themselves are so grand in nature, they become almost impossible to attain. Anyone can boast about his or her plans to lose weight, exercise more regularly or quit smoking, but – by focusing on the long-term alone – it becomes much easier to lose sight of the smaller (and more realistic) achievements that must be made first.

Changing any aspect of one’s lifestyle is more difficult for some than it is for others. For every person who quits smoking, there’s probably another who, after a certain period of time, falls back on old habits and fails to stave off the burning desire to light that one, “harmless” cigarette. Once that happens, however, the resolution is out the window and it’s back to square one.

The same can be said when it comes to exercising and eating right. One missed workout leads to another and, before long, the journey to getting fit leads straight back to the fast food counter. French fries and onion rings, unfortunately, go down a lot easier for many folks than a protein shake or a few kilometres on the treadmill.

Of course these are only a few examples of the many New Year’s resolutions people tend to make and break. For any resolution to work, the important thing to keep in mind is how realistic the resolution is. If going cold turkey isn’t for you, perhaps your resolution shouldn’t be to quit smoking as much as it should be to smoke less in the coming year. If successful, your next goal could be to smoke even less before finally kicking the habit once and for all. And, this doesn’t mean waiting an entire year before advancing to the next level. They may be called New Year’s resolutions, but – if the time is right – they can be made at any time.

It’s much like the planning that goes into municipal infrastructure. For a long time, Meadow Lake has been criticized for the condition of its roads. But, as mayor Gary Vidal has said time and time again, council’s focus in the last several years has been on getting the infrastructure fixed below ground first. The ultimate goal is to have smooth roads, but other steps had to be taken first or the entire endeavour would be for naught.

Meanwhile, a New Year’s resolution many people would like to see the provincial government make would be to approve its share of funding for a new long-term care facility in Saskatchewan’s northwest. As wonderful as this would be, the province should first focus on getting its finances in check while local organizations continue to fundraise for other aspects of the project. Again, when the time is right, that dream will also be realized.

With an abundance of celebrity deaths, war and famine persisting in many parts of the world, and the uncertainty many feel about a Donald Trump administration running things at the White House, 2016 was a dark and depressing year for many people. Here’s to a better 2017.

Happy New Year!