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Charlotteans vow changes for the new year

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It is officially 2011. Many of you wrote to me about my last article, "Best Laid Plans," stating what you had in mind for the new year. In each of the letters, I found positive energy from people who are hopeful about the future.

I truly believe that regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation or creed, the majority of people want others to do well and be well. When we strip away all of these categories, we come to our essence, which is humanity. When we lose sight of our humanity, we lose sight of our purpose. This is one of the reasons why it is so hard to maintain New Year's resolutions — so many of us lose sight of our purpose. Well, that and the fact that God already has his plans for you, so hopefully your goals correspond with his.

In spite of knowing that we have complete control over our lives in some cases and in others none at all, we always set out to do great things in the new year. I've never heard anyone have a negative New Year's resolution, save for one of my boys, who planned to break up with his girlfriend. (Truth be told, he should have left that relationship and her last year, but that's another story.)

On the topic of New Year's resolutions, I love that people want to be better and do better with each coming year. My boy isn't so different, using the new year to get the confidence and courage to do something he should have done long ago. Many of us use the new year in this way — whether it's giving more, losing weight to get healthy or spending more time with loved ones. The best thing about January of any year is the opportunity to start fresh. I've had the chance to really think about what I want for this year; I'll share it with you, along with the resolutions of some of your fellow Charlotteans:

• My New Year's resolution is to streamline my life (i.e., have one job, one man, one home and one pants size).

• "To love the Lord more." — Brent Bobo, chef, 131 Main on East Boulevard.

• "To create more business opportunities for women and men so that they may thrive professionally." — Okeatta Brown, immediate past board chair, Urban League of Central Carolinas.

• "To get all of my children in order." — Pam, waitress, Midnight Diner.

• "To cut through the clutter of life and work, value what's important and try to make a difference." — Mary C. Curtis, national correspondent for AOL's Politics Daily; contributor to Fox Charlotte and Creative Loafing.

• "Spend time this year focusing on my personal agenda, and what's really important to me." — George Spencer, owner, The Spencer Group.

• "To cook more meals at home and eat out less." — LaShawnda Becoats, Charlotte city editor, Uptown Charlotte magazine.

• "Health, happiness, humor!" — Jane Goble-Clark, executive director of a local nonprofit organization.

• "I resolve to take better care of myself by working out (at a gym) at least three times per week." — Miranda Acree, analyst, UPS.

• "To keep a global view in business and a local view in giving." — Daryle Lockhart, co-founder, TheBlackBoxOffice.com.

• "To better manage my finances by tracking and analyzing my spending patterns." — Dee Miller, project manager, Wells Fargo.

• "To create a vision board and allow all things healthy and good to manifest themselves in my life and in the lives of my dear family and friends." — Bianca Baumann Ihetu, account executive-media sales, CBS Radio Charlotte.

As you can see, your fellow citizens want to do better and give more for themselves and others. There's something cool about proclaiming what you want out of life. When else do we, particularly adults, get to say what we actually want publicly? The new year offers us an opportunity to speak freely under the protection of tradition. And that is a good thing.

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