By Laurie GordonSussex County — Watching the giant ball drop in Times Square at the stroke of midnight, drinking bubbly, giving hugs and kisses and and the singing of Auld Lang Syne (which basically means "for (the sake of) old times") are tried and true New Year's Eve traditions. The once 700-pound iron-and-wood orb has ballooned over the years to a brightly patterned sphere 12 feet in diameter and weighing in at nearly 12,000 pounds. Finding people who were going to brave the extreme cold (and the security lines) in NYC from our area was a challenge, but when it came to some interesting New Year's resolutions for 2018, they abounded. The practice of making resolutions for the new year is thought to have first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot. Purportedly, they would vow to pay off debts and return borrowed farm equipment.Sparta's Payton Markvicka said, “My New Year's Revolution is to put myself out there and travel abroad.”She's not wasting any time. Starting on January 1, she was be traveling to Nepal to help build a primary school with buildOn, an international nonprofit organization that builds schools in underdeveloped nations. Katharine Christiano, of Stillwater, said, “My New Year's Revolution is to cherish those I love everyday, for tomorrow is not promised. To care more about my health and life as I have seen what bad choices do to your life. I will think about each choice I make because, though that choice may not affect my life now, eventually all choices do affect your life in one way or another.” Danielle Tooker, of Sandyston, has a great New Year's tradition that takes her all year to prepare. Each time something good happened during the year, she wrote a note and added it to her “Jar of Happy Thoughts.” On New Year's Eve, she said, “So looking forward to reading these tonight. So many exciting things have happened this year. Great sunrises, exhausting hikes, two proposals, and a final track meet.” Laura DeLea, of Sparta, isn't making a New Year's resolution but instead said, “I’m just going to continue to live a happy and healthy lifestyle, keep the toxic out and let all positive in.” Then there's Mark Paterno, of Stillwater, who is an anti-resolutionist. “Resolutions are a way for people who love to procrastinate and blow smoke about things they’re 'gonna' do,” he said. “ Don’t believe me? Come to the gym for the next two weeks. The point is if you’re going to shoot, shoot, don’t talk. You don’t need to set a date to do that.” Author Brad Paisley was more of an optimist when he wrote: “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” Hampton's James Stark didn't have any resolutions as of yet other than growing his business 100 percent. Some lofty resolution, but apparently he did just that in 2017 and is going for a repeat. Jackie Kaufman, of Stillwater, said, “My resolution is the same as it always is: to try to purchase more locally.” And there's Stacey Michelman. “My New Year Resolution is not to let my Kohls cash expire,” she said. “True story!”Ahh the frustration of arriving at the register thinking you'll get 10 or 20 dollars off of your purchase only to be directed to the expiration date on your Kohl's cash and learn it was done two days ago. Paula Batson, of Newton, was more somber. Her's family has had a rough go of it of late, so her resolution was fitting. She said, “My New Years resolution is to feel okay putting myself first. Sometimes I struggle with what others need and what I need for me to be happy and healthy. It has been a very tough year for me and my family and I'm looking forward to some positive changes that make our lives better.” A new year is both an excuse and an opportunity to make positive changes. Life is life and it has its ups and downs and hits us with all kinds of twists and turns. Sometimes blindsides us with the unexpected. Resolutions-- at any time of the year-- are a way to be an optimist, pick yourself up each and every day and start afresh. As the song Auld Lang Syne professes, it's important to preserve old friendships and look back over the events of the year. The song's message is also about bridging gaps between friends who've drifted apart and forgiving and forgetting discrepancies that, more than likely, started as something trivial or misunderstood. Life is too short. Cheers to 2018.