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During the month of January, gyms are filled with people who swore that this year they would get into shape. Those who vowed to maintain a six-pack crowd the ab machines and pilates classes, those who want to bulk up hoard the weights, and those who want to slim down monopolize the treadmills and aerobics classes. But, by February, the masses have left and going to the gym no longer requires the patience it takes to get onto Splash Mountain at Disneyland in the summer. For about a month after New Year's, people give up one bad habit or choose one trait they want to improve upon. So, soon after the gluttonous holidays, people tend to focus on the superficial -- their waistlines. People swear off fattening food or try to work out. I've done the same thing. Every year, I've either sworn to stay in shape or eat less candy or, in enlightened moments, promise to be a nicer person to my little sister. However, these resolutions last about a week and the new year has never helped me make positive lifestyle changes.

Over the past few years, I've stopped drinking soda and coffee and eating red meat. I started to work out and began reading the newspaper and listening to NPR. I made these changes because I felt it was important, not because I felt guilty about taking an extra helping of pumpkin pie. A few weeks without junk appease a guilty conscience but do not really make you healthier or happier.

This year, my resolution is to give up New Year's resolutions. This way, I won't waste my time pretending that I'm going to change my life; instead, I'll acknowledge defeat before it happens. No, I'm not a quitter. I'm fighting the angel on my shoulder who makes me feel guilty for indulging. I deserve that piece of pie, the mashed potatoes, the pumpkin bread, and the pansit (a Filipino noodle dish present at all my family gatherings). And I refuse to feel bad for it. I'll work out because I need to stay in shape for field hockey, not because of the holiday gluttony. The lifestyle makes the difference, not the short stretches of over- or under-eating. -- Megan Zapanta, El Capitan H.S.

This year I am going to eat out less. I am not going into economically induced anorexia or anything, but I'm going to try to spend less money on food. I have recently been spending too much money and not making enough money. I don't know how this is going to work out because my social life is based on eating out, but I will cope. I will be my dog's best friend. In my family, our beagle is the neglected child. None of us make an effort to play with her. So I will. One year I made a resolution to walk my dog about once a day, but that failed in about a month. I want to love my dog the way I loved her when we first got her when I was in the third grade.

I will be more generous, pay for my friends' coffee every once in a while or buy someone a gift just because it reminded me of them. I want to think less about the money and more about others. This task seems to be easy enough, but I have a feeling that this is one of those resolutions that I will forget about in a couple of weeks. It seems too idealistic. Let's face it: I'm a poor teenager.

I vaguely remember making resolutions in the past. That is because they never work out and, come December, I can't recall what resolutions I made the previous January. But this year could be different...right? -- Derrick Sun, Mt. Carmel H.S.

We all make resolutions we want to keep, but after a week or two, we just give up. Kind of depressing, huh? When I was about ten and my brother Hayden was eight, I resolved not to fight with him for a whole year. I kept my resolution...for about five hours. I tried so hard. The first morning after I'd resolved to not fight with my brother, he began jumping on my bed -- while I was still in it! I wanted to scream at him, but I forced myself to smile and say, "Good morning, Hayden, may I jump with you?" I was happy that I had avoided a fight with him. I did an excellent job of restraining myself until lunch. Hayden sat in my favorite seat at the table. So, I shoved him off the seat and sat there myself. We argued over who should get the seat, and we both ended up running off to pout. By dinner, we had fought over several things, including whether G.I. Joe could use Barbie's convertible. It all went downhill from there.

Although I fought with my brother throughout the year, I thought twice before opening my mouth to argue with him. Nine out of ten times, I thought and decided to argue anyway. But, on rare occasions, I remembered my resolution and kept my mouth shut.

Should people make New Year's resolutions? Of course! But they should make the resolutions realistic -- they shouldn't resolve to learn to breathe underwater or anything like that. They should resolve to change something for the better, such as watching less TV and spending more time with their family every week. They should have a friend who knows their resolutions and will support them in following through with those resolutions so they succeed in losing the 20 pounds instead of gaining it. -- Emma Seemann, Carlsbad H.S.

I use my New Year's resolutions as a promise to myself that I will move forward in life and not dwell on the past. Every year since fifth grade has been the same: I set out to remedy my list of faults and tell myself that this year will be different from the last. I analyze the past year and consider the major mistakes. I attempt to establish resolutions that thwart history from repeating itself. At the dawn of my high school career, I started a tradition of placing "end procrastinating habits" at the top of my New Year's resolutions. One year, I attempted to stop eating fast food. I lasted for a few months, but then gave in to the succulent hamburgers and greasy fries that contribute to America's obesity and high cholesterol count. I even tried to not cuss for a whole year. Disappointment and frustration oftentimes led to unfortunate slips in dialogue; I did not last long.

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