At sonic speed, it seems, we're already almost midway through January. How are those resolutions coming?
Let me guess: lose weight/eat healthier/stop smoking/feed your spirit/read more/lift up your community. You know, the usual.
Easier said than done.
But if you're Dicie Gilmore, the climb is even steeper.
The 52-year-old Gilmore - "Pastor Dicie" to the neighborhood folk in Logan - is no different than plenty of Philadelphians living on fixed incomes, stuck in neighborhoods where basic services like grocery stores are nowhere to be found within a five-mile radius.
Kind of makes eating healthier tough.
Getting to fresh vegetables usually comes through a long, grueling trek on SEPTA.
"I either have to catch the bus, hope I can get a ride or get a hack," Gilmore says. "And that gets expensive."
The sign on her neighborhood corner bodega promises fresh vegetables, along with phone cards. "Ain't no fresh vegetables in there," she scoffs.
What the bodega does offer is its own smoking-reduction program. Kind of.
Can't afford $5 a pack? The deli sells single cigarette "loosies" for a small fraction of a pack. Just for you.
Good thing kicking the smoking habit isn't on Gilmore's list - "I haven't smoked since cigarettes were $2.75 a pack," she says, with a hint of pride.
We got our legs moving a bit on a brisk day, walking through the main thoroughfare, Belfield Avenue, past Logan Elementary, down Lindley, back into her block down Smedley, a mix of striving and struggling blocks.
Gilmore's block was once a tree-lined gem in North Philly, but seems to be clinging these days to uprooted dreams and tiny shreds of hope.
"Oh my God, when I was growing up, there were trees everywhere!" Gilmore gushed. Now, there are hardly any trees. Residents had to cut most of them down because the roots crack the sidewalks and grow underneath the houses, wreaking havoc with the plumbing.
"The trees die, the people die . . . " Gilmore sighs.
She glances at the copy of a photo she's taped on her front porch. It's a picture of her son, Nasir Matson, 25, who was murdered in 2004. A mother's tribute to her son.
Spiritual growth is always a goal.
Unlike some grieving mothers, Gilmore doesn't revise history or try to canonize her troubled child. "He stole. He dealt drugs. I would call the cops on him myself," she says heavily of the second-oldest of her five children. After he got out of jail, he resolved to get a job. But he couldn't. "So he went back to selling drugs."
Gilmore is far too pragmatic to make surface resolutions. Besides, she embarked on her own self-help program 30 years ago. She shed a destructive gang lifestyle that landed her favorite brother in Graterford for murder, and almost led her there, too.
Now she's Pastor Dicie, though her ministry is not in the church - neither the pastor nor most of the congregation of Piney Grove Baptist, the neighborhood church, live in the neighborhood anyway.
Her calling is on the streets, talking to the corner boys, telling them that if she can turn around, they can, too.
"I tell them, 'I've been where you are. You can rise above anything.' "
Still, it's hard to even think about rising when there's no safety net. She'd like to say, "Read more." But the closest library is in Nicetown, about five miles away. And you need a calculator to figure out the operating hours.
Forget about a nearby recreation center. A wooded park down the block offers space for La Salle students to play football, but no playground for the neighborhood kids.
"There's nothing for the kids to do," she tells me for the umpteenth time. "Nowhere for them to go. So they play ball in the street and the ball hits the neighbors' cars and they get mad. But what else do they have to do?"
Gilmore may not be landing punches anymore, but she's still got plenty of fight left in her. Which is why she stood in line with determined resolve for almost three hours on Tuesday to have a word with Mayor Nutter during his open house.
"I told him not to forget about the ex-offenders and the boys on the corner," she said, which Nutter announced as one of his own resolutions during his inaugural speech. "He said he wouldn't."
She knows it's easier said than done.
But you'd better believe she'll be holding the mayor to his resolutions, to help her neighborhood take root again.