Local clergy recommend New Year's resolutions

Posted: Saturday, January 4, 2014 12:15 am


There’s no official history on New Year’s resolutions, but many if not most, religions permit the making of vows of various sorts. In present-day culture, these promises often focus on diet, addictions, relationships and the use of free time.

Even though there’s no authoritative top 10 list for self-reformation, losing weight, praying more, quitting bad habits, being on time or other self-disciplines would probably populate such a list if it did exist., a federal government website, suggests a purely secular set, but one the faithful are unlikely to find objectionable. It proffers that we “lose weight, volunteer to help others, quit smoking, get a better education, get a better job, save money, get fit, eat healthy food, manage stress, manage debt, take a trip; reduce, reuse and recycle; and drink less alcohol.”

Also on the secular side, Psychology Today Magazine found that few of the determined resolvers do well past the first two weeks of the new year and that “by February, people are backsliding and by the following December, most people are back where they started, often even further behind.”

Yet about half of Americans make some resolutions each year, starting each year with similar optimism and ending with the same limited success.

The Daily News turned to local spiritual advisers for their suggestions for a more doable resolutions for 2014.


Rabbi Yitzchok Schmukler, director of Chabad of the Bay Area, agreed that January was a good time to refocus and add purpose to life.

“I sometimes suggest that people start every morning with a short statement thanking God for returning our soul to us, refreshed and anew, granting us the gift of life for another day,” he said. “This idea is based on a one-sentence Jewish prayer called ‘Modeh Ani’ (Hebrew for ‘I give thanks’). It is recited immediately upon awakening, even before getting out of bed. What this does is start your day off on the right foot.”