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New Year’s resolutions: A chance to reflect and set personal goals for positive change

A new year is approaching fast, and many people will be making New Year’s resolutions for a successful 2024.

As most people know, New Year’s resolutions are personal commitments that individuals make at the beginning of a new year to bring about positive changes in their health and fitness, personal development, financial goals, or career aspirations.

When asked about their resolutions, Pawleys Island town officials, business owners, and accommodations professionals shared their personal goals for the coming year.

Pawleys Island Mayor Brian Henry

Brian Henry

In addition to serving as the island’s mayor, Brian Henry and his wife, Sassy, own Sea View Inn, a bed and breakfast on Pawleys Island, and Get Carried Away, a catering company and gift shop on the Pawleys mainland.

He says the past year was “fantastic and productive,” but in 2024, he would like to improve his health through diet and exercise.

Mayor Henry will accomplish this goal by “establishing a weekly exercise schedule with a variety of activities, more salads at lunch time, and no snacking after 7:30 p.m.,” he said.

Sassy Henry, business owner

Sassy Henry

Agreeing with her husband about a positive 2023, Sassy Henry said she has “had many positive personal and professional moments this year.”

“My cup runneth over!,” she said.

Sassy Henry’s resolution for the coming year is to “spend more time at home with my husband and family.”

“I am going to have to learn to delegate and trust others to do some of the tasks that I typically do at my businesses,” she said. “I also don’t want to over schedule my calendar.”

Pawleys Island Town Administrator Daniel Newquist

Overall, Daniel Newquist said that 2023 was a great year both professionally and personally. He works with the mayor and Town Council to handle the day-to-day operations of the island.

Daniel Newquist (with his son, Lane.)

“The Town of Pawleys Island has fully recovered from Hurricane Ian and thankfully the 2023 Hurricane season was tame,” he said. “Also, as the year progressed, I settled into my role as town administrator nicely. In 2023, The Town successfully launched a Building Department and with the support of Town Council we now have a Tree Protection Ordinance on the island. We have secured several important partnerships, and we now have seed money to begin this important work. Momentum is on our side.”

Looking forward to 2024, Newquist said professionally he would like to make notable progress on implementing the Town’s Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan.

As a personal goal, he would love to increase the frequency that he commutes to work by bicycle and increase leisure time.

“I only live two miles away from Town Hall,” Newquist said. “I will also enjoy the beautiful beach or kayak in the creek on my days off.”

And, he also said, 2023 was special because he was able to experience the growth of his son, Lane, who will be 2 years old in April.

Pawleys Island Police Chief Michael Fanning

Chief Michael Fanning said 2023 treated him well but went very fast. His number-one resolution for 2024  is to “set aside time for self-reflection and gratitude.”

Mike Fanning

“I need to practice mindfulness,” he said. “I may try to achieve this through meditation.”

Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Practitioners often focus on the breath or a specific point of focus.

Fanning said he has had limited success with resolutions in previous years, but he will continue to strive for positive changes in his life.

“My past resolutions of diet and exercise usually fell short,” he said. “However, last year I set a goal for going to the gym regularly, and I have followed through with it so I am proud of myself for that.”

Betsy Altman, owner/broker in charge for Pawleys Island Realty

Betsy Altman

Grateful for calm fall weather in 2023, Betsy Altman said the year was busy at Pawleys Island Realty, one of the realty companies for rental houses on the island. Her top resolution for 2024 is “to explore the treasures of the Lowcountry more.”

“I tend to do this when relatives and/or friends visit, but I want to learn more about our natural resources,” she said. “I plan to do this by being more active at Hobcaw Barony, Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park, as well as participating more in offshore fishing, kayaking and paddle boarding tours, to name a few.” 

She said she also wants to help more nonprofits in Georgetown County. 

“There are so many wonderful groups that need volunteers and funding,” Altman said.

Resolutions are a good guide to “steer us in the right direction, and to be better educated, more engaged and more productive people,” she said.

“I usually meet some of my resolutions, but not all of them,” Altman said. “But I do think it’s important to set goals for ourselves and try to achieve them.”

Kamra Cox, senior reservations agent for TideLife Vacation Rentals

Kamra Cox

Kamra Cox describes 2023 as “a year of growth and learning, with both challenges and rewarding experiences.” She is looking forward to 2024 with TideLife Vacation Rentals, another realty company for rental houses on the island.

“My top resolution for 2024 is to cultivate more meaningful connections and relationships, both personal and professional,” Cox said.

She will achieve that goal by “dedicating more time to actively listen, communicate openly, and invest more effort into these relationships with genuine care,” she said. “I feel confident 2024 will be one of the best years yet.”

By Clayton Stairs / tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce