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Wahl to Wall: Considering new year’s resolutions and predictions

Paul Wahl is editor of the Wallowa County Chieftain.

Published on December 27, 2017 9:31AM

Two things come to mind when I think of the new year approaching. First is resolutions. Second is predictions.

I made a resolution some years ago to stop making new year’s resolutions. When it comes to predictions, well, I’m no Jeane Dixon. Remember her?

For as far back as this sort of thing has been tracked, “losing weight” and “getting healthy” have been the top resolutions for Americans. Alas, it’s easier said than done.

If you have had a health club membership for any number of years, you are aware of what happens right after Jan. 1. Suddenly, the place is swarming with people desperately trying to make their resolution come true.

They sweat and pant, mostly overdoing it. By the end of the second week, they’re tired, sore and miserable. Suddenly the couch seems much more inviting than the elliptical machine.

My the end of February, they’re gone and the regulars once again have the place to themselves. It doesn’t have to be this way. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Start slow, enjoy yourself and work a bit harder each week than you did the week before. In six months time, you will notice a difference.

The important thing is to heed Winston Churchill’s advice and “never give up.”

Eat fewer calories than you burn, and get 30 minutes of heart-pumping exercise at least five times a week and you’ll be well on your way to success.

Predictions are another matter entirely.

There are the no-brainer predictions. Like, I predict right here and right now that a large rodeo is going to be held in Joseph in July. There’s a high likelihood of that coming to pass.

Beyond those certainty items, things are much more nebulous.

Everyone seems to want to predict the weather. It’s going to be hot summer. It’s going to be a cool summer. Next fall will be snowy.

There’s probably no more famous weather forecaster than the Old Farmer’s Almanac. It seems to me, the key to their success if being just vague enough. If you are going to claim they’re wrong, there’s that “gotcha” moment attached to the provision that gives them an out.

In press materials, the almanac claims 96.3 percent accuracy for its “2015 predictions of a bleak and biting winter.” Overall, they claim accuracy rates around 80 percent but have never published evidence backing that claim.

I remember my parents and grandparents putting a good bit of stock in the almanac. It was never scientific enough for my young and skeptical mind. Now much older and wiser, I have concluded no one can predict weather –– even 24 hours out.

I amazed the meteorologists can be right less than half the time and still keep their jobs. Think of how that would work for a newspaper editor.

Other folks are fond of predicting the stock market. Hopefully, the current upward trend will continue throughout 2018, but there’s certainly no guarantee.

Then you have those who try to predict winners in major sporting events such as the Super Bowl or the various events in the Winter Olympics coming up in February.

It’s all a shot in the dark from my perspective. Give me a “sure thing” any day of the week.

Let’s go back to resolutions for a minute. Here’s one I’d like to pass along.

To any agency, group, club, church or organization in Wallowa County that operates a website, please make a resolution to update your content.

Almost daily in our search for corroboration and information here at the Chieftain, we bump into a website that hasn’t been updated for months or in some cases years.

Speaking as someone responsible for updating our website on a weekly or more often basis, I can testify it can be time-consuming. But it’s worth it.

Here’s wishing all of our readers a successful and prosperous 2018.


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