Many in Estacada are giving the cold shoulder to the tradition of New Year's resolutions

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: PHIL LINGELBACH - Austin Lingelbach sits near the Killer Fang stretch of the Clackamas River. Lingelbach's father, Phil, says the family strives to go on an outdoor adventure each year.

When Jan. 1 rolls around, people across the globe often promise themselves they'll change certain negative behaviors or incorporate new, positive habits into their lives.

But many in Estacada are giving the cold shoulder to the tradition of resolutions.

"I don't make (New Year's) resolutions," said Allen Cameron of The Artsmith. "I'd break them anyway."

Similarly, Michelle Best of Award Embroidery and Apparel said she's never made New Year's resolutions.

"There's no sense in making something you're not going to stick to," she added.

New Year's resolutions have a long history. Approximately 4,000 years ago, the Babylonians are said to have began the tradition with a religious festival called Akitu. During this 12-day event, they promised their gods that they would repay their debts and return any borrowed property. Upholding these promises, the Babylonians believed, would ensure they remained in the good graces of their gods.

Today in Estacada, however, many people are focusing on being their best selves throughout the year rather than just when January comes around.

"The first of the year is kind of cliche. It doesn't work that way. You can have a new start no matter what day it is," said Am Griswold, an artist at the Spiral Gallery.

Rather than make one big resolution at the start of January, Griswold makes smaller goals throughout the year.

At The Book Nook, Margie Arnett is weary of New Year's resolutions as well.

"They notoriously never happen," she said, noting that something she plans to focus on throughout 2018 is remembering what's always been important to her.

"It's important to try to do your best throughout the year, and not just on January 1," she said.

Book Nook manager Linda Arnett agreed.

"I taught her everything she knows," she added.

Wally McDermed, pastor at Clackamas Valley Baptist Church, also avoids making New Year's resolutions. He believes it's valuable to start new goals whenever they are needed, rather than just at the beginning of the year.

"(It's) like saying 'I'm going to start a diet on Monday.' The problem is every week has a Monday, so we can keep kicking the proverbial can down the road so to speak," he said. "When I resolve to do something without setting a specific date or time, I'm more likely to keep the resolution I have made."

Flynn Phillips of Estacada's American Legion Carl Douglas Post thinks New Year's resolutions often fail because people attempt to take on too much at one time.

"You can't eat an elephant in one sitting, meaning don't make a goal so large that you set yourself up to fail," Phillips said. "You need to think about that goal each and every day. Once you have achieved a small success then add another small goal. This

is eating the elephant one bite at a time."

Phillips added that, after failing to keep New Year's resolutions, he now choses to tackle problems as they arise.

"After I retired from the military in 1988, I was busting out of my uniform and my mother had diabetes," he said, reflecting on the goal he's most proud of. "I resolved to get healthy and keep my weight in check to prevent diabetes. Which I can say I have done a pretty good job."

Though many in Estacada opt not to make New Year's resolutions, some in town have found ways to make this tradition work for them.

Phil Lingelbach and his family typically strive to embark on an outdoor adventure each year.

"When my oldest son, Dylan, graduated from high school we went fishing on the Kenai River in Alaska during hog week, when the largest King salmon are supposed to run. We are planning that one again in 2019," said Lingelbach.

Other adventures for the Lingelbach family have included exploring rainforests in Costa Rica, exploring the Killer Fang white water rapid on the Clackamas River and hiking to the top of the 7,200 foot Olallie Butte.

"This year we are considering a hiking expedition to find the largest red cedar in Oregon that is located about 45 miles southeast of Estacada in the Mt. Hood National Forest," he said.

Paulina Menchaca said the main memory she has of New Year's resolutions "is that they all seemed to fizzle out half way through the year." But in 2018, she's trying something new.

She plans to fill a jar with notes about something that positive that happened each week. She hopes to make it a family project.

"When we ring in 2019 we can take turns reading them," she said.

Some in Estacada have adapted their New Year's resolutions to work better for them as time goes on.

Tony Long Drew, a therapist at Life Quest Northwest and youth pastor at Estacada Assembly of God, resolved to run every day one year, but it didn't work out for him. After several weeks, he shared, he "hit the wall."

"I started to make excuses as to why I could not get up early and run. Everything from my ankle to my pride was sore. I started using the excuse that I was not a morning person," he recalled.

Rather than continue running, he chose an exercise that worked better for him: walking.

"I decided to revert back to the baby steps of walking while listening to my favorite playlist and enjoying every step," he said, noting that it was important for him to ask himself if he really liked running in the first place.

And others in town establish goals in January and keep them for the following 12 months.

Lesa Haggstrom has made the same New Year's resolutions for the past two years. Her first goal is to be kind to others.

"Even if it is just a small gesture like buying (an) ice cream for someone behind you, or buying a meal for someone in need, it is a wonderful feeling, and I love sharing that feeling with my daughter and watching her do the same," she said.

Her second resolution is to greet people by name, and to not be embarrassed to ask if she does not remember someone's name.

"It is nice to be remembered and a quality I want to share," she said.