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new year

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Harriet Phelps
Harriet Phelps

By Dr Harriet A. Phelps
Doctorate of Psychology, retired
Marriage and Family Specialty

Happy New Year!  Many of us have already begun procrastinate making those New Year’s resolutions. As we look back we know that we have not managed to complete last year’s, remembering with disgust.

Resolution means simply to resolve. The tradition started 4,000 years ago with the Babylonians, the first to record celebrations honoring the coming New Year.  The festival was held in March and known as Akitu which celebrated the new King or reaffirmed loyalty to the current one. Celebrations consisted of promises to pay debt or the return of borrowed objects. If word was kept the King bestowed favor or not.

Julius Caesar reformed the calendar to begin Jan. 1 circa 46 B.C. It was a time to reflect back on the previous year or forward to the New Year. It was early Christians that began the traditions to think about past mistakes and resolve to do better in the future.  Past traditions set the practice of making promises to keep only to ourselves and then focus on self improvement.

Research indicates approximately 45% of Americans say they make them but only 8% are successful in achieving the goals set. So why do we use a tradition that brings discouragement and lowers our self confidence? I personally have resolved not to set resolutions and work on the changes I need to make for health and wellness. I have resolved that if I was going to make a change then I would not have to confront the same thing next year. So, how do we make those changes?

1. Goal setting. Take a quiet moment to reflect what it is that you would really like to accomplish.  It is the first step of problem resolution.  Identify the          problem honestly by taking a personal inventory.  his is reflective not critical.  Guilt is only good for two seconds and a change.  Most experiences, not failure, of goal setting are not specific enough or clearly understood.  Ask where the goals are coming from. Why is this goal pertinent to me? How does achieving this goal influencing me?  Choose to do just one thing.

  1. Tailor tasks that align with who you are and where you wish to be. There are no mistakes or failures only learning experiences. Change causes fear for all of us.  Look ahead only one day at a time. The greatest lesson we could learn is,” I’ll not do that again” then move on.
  2. Feelings of discouragement. Do not give up. Go back to number one and revisit the why.  We become impatient when we do not see signs of progress.  Think about how you will know.  It may not be the number of pounds lost but the eating changes that are healthier.
  3. You may not be ready to make this particular change. Consider what, when, where, and why. You may need to research what could help you accomplish what you want or seek out someone for support. Approve that you are not ready for the task and choose another to work on and do not stress.

Habits are hard to break.  A habit is a behavior that we have done repeatedly and has become unconscious.  We do something automatically no longer thinking about how or why.  When we have not sufficiently repeated a behavior enough we will fall back on old patterns.  In the 60’s the 21/90 rule was established.  Mainly, it takes 21 days to change a habit by repetition and 90 to begin doing it automatically.  Studies estimate it is more like 66 days and up to six months.  Learning a new behavior is an individual experience and takes repetition and practice.  Time and place are key, reminders help, and find the cue that triggers old behaviors.

Remember to do just one thing.  Happy New Year!

As always, be awesome.

Harriet Phelps is a volunteer with the Be Awesome Youth Coalition.

 

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InMaricopa readers turned their attention to tragedy, transportation and economic development in 2018. Here are some of our most-read stories of the year:

10. In December, readers were outraged by details of child abuse accusations against a Maricopa couple. Describing being hit, taped and deprived of food and water as punishment, three children were removed from the home.

9. An August crash that killed Maricopan Johnnie Verdoza and another man on State Route 143 drew widespread attention for the alleged actions of others in the car, also from Maricopa, who reportedly hid the bodies and left. However, the unsustained accusation of hiding bodies was not ultimately among the charges by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office against the driver. Manslaughter charges against Thomas Sikes, now 23, are still in Maricopa County Superior Court, with trial set for April. He is also charged with endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident involving death or injury.

8. Apex Motor Club and the City of Maricopa stuck to their guns in lawsuits filed over granting a use permit for the construction of a private race track on the west side of town. Apex finally broke ground on the complex in November.

7. Gone, gone, gone. Several structures bit the dust in the Heritage District in 2018. Most, like the Copa Center, the former county jail and F.O.R. Maricopa food bank, were taken down to make way for the overpass. Some homes were simply condemned as blight.

6. Readers were touched by the story of a Maricopa family seeking justice for a son killed by a hit-and-run driver in Phoenix in July. Though devastated by the loss of Joseph Schott, 27, mom Sue Ball was amazed at Maricopa’s “overabundance of love and support.”

5. Teachers found empowerment in 2018. Maricopa educators tentatively organized a non-disruptive walk-in and soon gained the courage to join a statewide walk-out that shut down some schools for several days during the state budget talks. It was all a battle for better funding of education, with mixed results.

4. Elections were mostly friendly at the local level, but Maricopa was no stranger to political divisiveness in the midterms. Republicans and Democrats, from constable to Congress, engaged in Maricopa town halls to debate hot-button issues. While District 11 remains legislatively Republican, state leadership will have a different look in 2019.

3. Transportation – from the overpass to a lingering lawsuit over the funding of roadway improvements – was catnip to Maricopa readers. Pinal County appealed a tax court decision that would undermine efforts to widen State Route 347, and construction work on the overpass project was beginning to have an impact on in-town traffic by year’s end.

2. The development of Edison Pointe south of Fry’s Marketplace had the keen interest of Maricopans, who wanted to know which businesses were opening and when. Ross, Goodwill, Planet Fitness, Dollar Tree, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, WingStop and Wynn Nails & Hair were all completed and open in 2018, with more to come.

1. InMaricopa’s most-read story of the year involved the violent murder of a beloved resident and the subsequent arrest of her grandson as the main suspect. Vicky Ten Hoven died Jan. 28 at her home in Rancho El Dorado. With aid from other law enforcement agencies, Maricopa Police Department took custody of Marcos Martinez, who is being prosecuted for homicide.

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Photos by Mason Callejas

We asked Maricopans: What would you like to see in Maricopa in 2017?

“I just want to see joy, health and happiness for the community in 2017. But, I’m really looking forward to the groundbreaking of the overpass.” – Fitzgerald Johnson

“I just want to see prosperity and economic development.” – Kendra Johnson

“We’re starting to grow again, so I’m excited. I’ve been here since the boom, so I’m hoping that Maricopa keeps growing.” – Helen Ford

“I would like to definitely see a lot more community support, ways that we can help each other and stay connected better, and maybe some more development programs for youth.” – Marina Love

“I’m looking for a really prosperous year in terms of development, and I see good things coming.” – Santa Claus (Rich Huggins)

“I’d like to see the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship doing more for the kids coming out of high school. When they come out of high school they don’t really know how to go into the workforce or how to properly apply for jobs.”  – Susan Cameron

Fitzgerald Johnson (from top), Kendra Johnson and Gerald Johnson. Photo by Mason Callejas
Fitzgerald Johnson (from top), Kendra Johnson and Gerald Johnson. Photo by Mason Callejas

“My truck got broken into. And, we recently found some graffiti on the walls in Acacia … so it’d be good to see a little more [law] enforcement, just driving through [neighborhoods].” – Robert McAlister

“I’d like to see some more jobs for disabled people, or more people willing to hire more disabled people. It’d be good to see a center for seniors, too.” – Alonzo Anthony

“I’d like to see more parents keep their kids in Maricopa versus trucking them out to Chandler, because all of our best students are leaving Maricopa schools.” – Mac Mooney

“I want to see more restaurants, breakfast places like Denny’s or IHOP, not just the little hole-in-the-wall places.” – Michelle Balon


This article appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.

 

Susan Cameron with her art. Photo by Mason Callejas
Susan Cameron with her art. Photo by Mason Callejas