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New year, new leaf
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As the memories of Christmas fade behind us and we enter a new year, it is time once again to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead.

With any year there are a lot of events and news to look back on, both good and bad. The Boston Marathon bombing, the birth of a royal baby, the deaths of worldwide celebrities and local residents and more things than I can recount here were all part of 2013. It’s good to look back, but this is a great time to look forward.

The great thing about a new year is it gives us all the opportunity to look ahead and to hope and plan for a better 2014. Personally, I am starting this year on a high note, as I have just joined the staff of the Chronicle-Independent as a reporter. My first day was Monday, Dec. 30, and I see it as a fitting way to end 2013 and forge ahead with renewed energy and purpose.

I love community journalism and that is where I have spent most of my newspaper career. I come to Camden from a smaller town in neighboring Chesterfield County where I was editor for a weekly newspaper. That community was considerably smaller than the Camden/Lugoff/Elgin area, but the feel and atmosphere is quite the same. I fit in well there and made many friends, as I expect to do here.

Readers have many options these days for getting news and the growth in electronic media has been staggering. There are still newspapers, radio and television, of course, but now you can get news on your computer, electronic tablet and even on your cellphone.

But your local, hometown news is available in only one place; your local newspaper. Yes, we also have a website, but that content is still gathered and written right here in Camden. That’s how it should be.

We care about our community and about our readership. We feel it is our duty to keep you informed on what’s happening locally and it’s a duty we take seriously.

I look at my new opportunity here as a fresh start not only in my career, but in some ways in my entire life. I’m very excited to start this new chapter with a new company that has the kind of leadership and vision I have been missing the past few years. We care about the product we put out for our readers. Those who have been at the wheel of this paper for years obviously know what they are doing.

With the new year, many of us are making the typical annual resolutions. Some of those are surely the same ones we made last year and the year before and the year before that. Sadly, most of those resolutions fall by the wayside quickly, often by Feb. 1.

Many of us, including myself, vow to eat better, exercise regularly and drop a few pounds. I’m vowing that again, but maybe putting it in print for all to see will make me feel more accountable for it. That would be good.

Many of us, including myself, vow to manage our money better and budget and save and curb our frivolous spending. I’m vowing that again. We’ll see how that goes, but I have a new confidence that I can be successful in this.

Whatever your resolutions may be for 2014, I hope you give it your very best to see them through. I have heard it said that trying to make too many changes all at once is a recipe for failure. That actually makes sense.

Trying to quit smoking, lose weight, manage your money, spend more time with your family and stop biting your fingernails is overwhelming when you roll it all together. A better plan of attack might be to take on your tasks one or two at a time and get a good grasp on the solutions before moving on to the next change you want to make. That will make your resolutions much more manageable and easier to stick with. The key to success in almost anything isn’t pure perfection, it’s consistency.

Whatever you hope 2014 holds in store for you, I hope it all comes to pass, but in most cases we all really hold our fate in our own hands. Keep a bright outlook and work toward your goals, whatever they may be and success will be yours.

Happy New Year!