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It’s the first week of the new year people are rushing in and out of the LA County hospital. Many people are on the grass talking and enjoying the sun. Earley Brown, who recently turned 60, has started the year out with a medical check up.
The white-haired man said he was content with his life, but has made a New Year’s resolution to change some of his habits. “This year [I plan to] take better care of myself by going to medical checkups. A lot of times doctors would call and I didn’t go, but now I will,” he says.
Nearly half of Americans make New Years resolutions. Among the most popular are: exercising, getting organized and saving money. While many people make them, resolutions are not as easy to keep, with nearly half failing after six months.
Christina Martinez, a YMCA employee, says she has noticed an increase of gym memberships after the holidays. She says the gym at the Wellness Center has been busy throughout the first week of January, with a lot of people making resolutions to exercise.
Martinez herself says she is making a resolution to live a healthier lifestyle in order to set an example to the members. “ I also run our diabetes prevention program,” she says, “so I think that’s a bigger reason why I want to be healthy and active.”
The Wellness Center offers programs and classes to support members achieve their goals. Nearly a quarter of Americans don’t succeed in keeping their resolutions after the first week, and according to the University of Scranton’s research, only 8% maintain them throughout the year.
Samuel Tarakchyan, 35, says his concern with keeping up at work and maintaining his family keeps him from making resolutions. “A resolution is something that you have to put your mind to it and focus on it so you could actually want to do it,” he said.
A tradition that dates back to Roman times, New Year’s resolutions are still practiced by 45% of Americans. Studies show in addition to taking consistent work and dedication, writing your resolutions down increase the success rate.
Brown says it’s important to make resolutions that make your life better, and the ability to keep resolutions are a reflection of who you are as a person. “When you make a commitment with something you should follow through,” he says, “any commitment in life cause that shows who you are.”
This story was produced by Boyle Heights Beat youth reporters Alinne Gonzalez, Fatima Velasco and Gustavo Zambrano during an introductory journalism bootcamp.