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Spc. Adam Kane, a member of the Connecticut National Guard's 643rd Military Police Company, runs on a treadmill in Darmstadt, Germany, Friday.

Spc. Adam Kane, a member of the Connecticut National Guard's 643rd Military Police Company, runs on a treadmill in Darmstadt, Germany, Friday. (Matt Millham / S&S)

Spc. Adam Kane, a member of the Connecticut National Guard's 643rd Military Police Company, runs on a treadmill in Darmstadt, Germany, Friday.

Spc. Adam Kane, a member of the Connecticut National Guard's 643rd Military Police Company, runs on a treadmill in Darmstadt, Germany, Friday. (Matt Millham / S&S)

Judith Porter, a 35-year-old Army spouse, who lives in Darmstadt, Germany, has lost four pounds in less than three weeks.

Judith Porter, a 35-year-old Army spouse, who lives in Darmstadt, Germany, has lost four pounds in less than three weeks. (Matt Millham / S&S)

When the new year began, Judith Porter joined roughly half of America in a long-running tradition: the New Year’s resolution.

After gaining a little weight, she’d become depressed and resolved to hit the gym more in 2007 to shed the extra pounds.

So far she’s lost four pounds in less than three weeks.

“I am happy,” said the 35-year-old Army spouse, who lives in Darmstadt, Germany.

But losing the weight hasn’t been as simple as just showing up at the gym on occasion and staring down the StairMaster.

Since Jan. 1, Porter has spent an hour or two at the gym nearly every day. She runs, hits the aerobics machines, works on her abs and slouches in the sauna for about 15 minutes. Porter said she plans to keep it up.

Chances are about even that she will, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in April 2002. That study found that 46 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick with them through at least the first six months of the year. People who want to change their lives but don’t make New Year’s resolutions generally don’t change, the study found.

But that study probably didn’t include Sgt. 1st Class Gary Smith. He doesn't make New Year’s resolutions — he makes plans.

“When you set goals and make a plan to make those goals it’s a lot easier,” said the 40-year-old member of the 22nd Signal Brigade in Darmstadt.

This year, he plans to gain 10 pounds of muscle mass, and when he goes back to the States later this year, he’s going to run at least three marathons. He has a five-year plan, too: the fitness goals he has all work toward his five-year goal of competing in a triathlon in the Virgin Islands.

Spc. Adam Kane, an in-shape 19-year-old member of the Connecticut National Guard’s 643rd Military Police Company, has already given up on the idea of the New Year’s resolution.

“I tried to give stuff up, but it never really worked out,” Kane said. Still, he popped into the gym Friday when most soldiers are heading off for lunch. He said he’s always at the gym.

He isn’t alone in abandoning the idea of making resolutions.

Terry Ptack, a 64-year-old civilian who looks a decade younger, didn’t come up with one this year either. “I suppose I thought about it,” he said smiling.

Drenched in sweat from his workout, Ptack said he had other things to think about. “Carpe diem,” he said, a Latin phrase that implies people should live life in the present because you could die tomorrow. “I’ll take it as it comes up,” he said, “because there’s a lot going on.”


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