What’s the point of making a New Year’s resolution?

Most studies indicate the majority of people that actually make resolutions don’t achieve them. For those who do decide to make New Year’s resolutions, it’s suggested to only tackle one. And according to a recent poll from Marist College in New York, the most popular is “being a better person.”

Studies show that dog owners can take a lesson from their canine kids in regards to becoming better people. So, in 2018 I will take cues from the General, my somewhat quirky 5-year-old German shepherd, and Lucifer, my husband’s majestic 8-year-old German shepherd. In the coming year, I will follow their lead by incorporating the following into my life:

•RELAX: According to the American Kennel Club, dogs typically sleep about 50 percent of the time. While I’m not going to sleep half the year away, I will further embrace the value of naps. Also, relaxing will include slowing down and taking time for myself — whether that’s reading, taking a walk or engaging in other hobbies.

•EXCITEMENT: Even though Lucifer and the General’s lives are pretty routine, they enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of daily walks. In addition, the General’s exuberant yelp when he realizes he gets to hang out with me at work is absolutely priceless.

While I can’t promise that I’ll howl with excitement, I’ll look for ways to spice up routine activities. Although I won’t feel compelled to mark everything along the way, I will attempt to stop and smell the flowers, which is going to be extremely exciting this spring. As one of my Christmas gifts, John revealed that he purchased and planted more than two dozen tulip bulbs.

•SIMPLE THINGS: Whether it’s riding shotgun to the store or getting leftovers from a dinner out, our dogs are thrilled by little things. While I thoroughly look forward to taking trips and going out for special occasions, I will take steps to initiate small things that touch the lives of others — meeting my friends for coffee, making a favorite meal for my husband and regularly sending cards or letters to my parents.

•BOUNDARIES: John and I have found that our dogs respond better with structure. It reduces acting out and behavioral issues. For me, it’s important to maintain boundaries regarding relationships and workloads.

When I’m feeling stress or have too much on my plate, I don’t dig holes in the yard or tear up a newspaper. However, rather than trying to be superwoman while my blood pressure skyrockets, it will be much healthier for me to talk about what’s happening and sometimes saying no.

•UNCONDITIONAL LOVE: Regardless if I’m happy or sad, my dogs are there for me. They don’t care if I’m having a bad hair day, if I haven’t showered or if I’ve put on five pounds. They love me. Period.

While I won’t be wagging my tail or licking other’s faces, I can certainly take a big lesson from Lucifer and the General in expressing love, care and concern to those in my pack, including my husband, parents and my chosen sisters.

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Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

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