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Eric Douglas sig

I’ve never been a big fan of the “new year, new you” mentality. I mean, other than the symbolism of it, I don’t understand what makes Jan. 1 any different than July 27.

Nor have I have I ever put much stock into new year’s resolutions. There is a lot of data that says most of them are gone by February.

By some estimates, the day people quit their New Year’s resolutions is closer to Jan. 19.

That’s why your local gym is always full in January, but back to normal in March. And gym owners know that will happen, too.

In the 1950s, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, observed it took about 21 days for his patients to become used to seeing their new face or missing limb or whatever.

He said, “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”

Eventually, that became the gold standard. Everyone believed it took three weeks to create a new routine and make it feel natural. They conveniently forgot the “a minimum of about” part.

More recent, and scientific, research shows it takes an average of 66 days. But the actual times ranged from 18 days to 254 days at the extremes.

2020 has been a year like no other. I won’t bother to rehash everything we’ve seen. I will remind you, though, that in January last year, we thought we might be going to war with Iran.

I mean, that was a serious concern. Seems like it happened decades ago.

Years, obviously, don’t cause problems themselves. And the coronavirus pandemic won’t magically go away on Jan. 2, 2021. We’ll be dealing with it -- and its effects -- for months (if not years) to come.

Still, I think we can all be forgiven for feeling like we are done with 2020 and are looking forward to something better.

2021 is going to be a year. That’s probably the only thing we can say with any certainty. What it will bring, I wouldn’t even begin to guess.

My plans for next year include keeping things simple, focusing on myself and my family, and learning to not react to every minor blip that pops up on the radar.

I guess, in some ways, that might be my resolution. Let’s see if I can get into late February with it.

I’ll keep at it for at least 66 days. But knowing how hard-headed I can be sometimes, I’m likely in the 254-day range.

Eric Douglas, of Pinch, is the author of “Return to Cayman,” “Heart of the Maya,” “Cayman Cowboys,” “River Town” and other novels. He is also a columnist for Scuba Diving Magazine and a former Charleston Newspapers Metro staff writer. For more information, visit or contact him at