New members are flocking to weight-control clinics. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are filled to capacity. Health food store sales are up. Bank customers are planning to save more money. Clerics' phones are ringing off the hook.
Washington area residents have resolved to make improvements in their lives in 1991.
"I went to every party, I ate everything I got my hands on, I shopped. I had a blast," said Dorita Johnson, 28, a waitress from the District. "Then I made a New Year's resolution to shape up and make up for my fun."
After overindulging during the holidays, thousands of people in the District and suburban Virginia and Maryland have made New Year's resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking and drinking, focus more on family and friends, give more to charity and save more money.
For many, this year's resolutions are a repeat of promises of years past, another chance to start again.
"To many people, every new year is a rebirth," said Jodi Fuller, executive director of Providence Hospital's Wellness Institute and Women's Center. "It's a time to start over . . . . Typically what you see is people trying to make positive lifestyle changes."
Enrollment is up 25 percent in the institute's smoking cessation program. The Roundhouse Psychiatric Clinic, in Alexandria and the District, which provides therapy for eating disorders, weight control problems and marriage and family conflicts, has a 20 to 30 percent increase in new clients. Professional Hypnosis Services of McLean, which treats smoking, weight problems, phobias and stress management, also is seeing a higher-than-usual volume, said its director, Gary Hayman.
Health clubs from Annapolis to Woodbridge are reporting increases of up to 50 percent in new memberships; gyms also are brimming with old customers who fell off the workout wagon last year. "I have seen people this week I haven't seen in months," said Sandy Marks, of the Courts Royal health club in Rockville.
Jenny Craig, owner of a national chain of weight-loss centers, said January is customarily a high-volume month because of people who made resolutions to shape up. "They've gained a few pounds and their clothes are tight, so one of their resolutions is to lose weight. Another motivation for those with considerable weight to lose is to get it off by summer."
Many people who resolve to make changes do so because they abused drugs and alcohol because of holiday stress, say counselors. Visiting relatives, returning to childhood homes and dealing with economic woes cause stress that is often drowned in rich foods and excessive alcohol consumption, said Jerilyn Ross, director of Roundhouse. Then people realize they need psychological counseling to cope with their demons, she said.
"There is a higher influx of people calling in after the holiday," said an Alcoholics Anonymous counselor. "Because of holiday stress they drink more. Then they realize the drinking is out of control and they call for help."
"People are very motivated at this time of year," said Catherine A. Lambert, regional director of Smoke Enders of Washington, which has seen enrollment increase by 50 percent.
The Suburban Hospital Addiction Treatment Center in Bethesda had 13 admissions last weekend, up from a regular one or two a day, said intervention specialist Bev Smith. People who come in because of a resolution are "the kind of people who grab the program and run . . . . We also do a lot of family interventions where families have made resolutions to intervene to coerce a loved one into treatment."
Philip Brennan, president of the Ethos Foundation, a drug and alcohol education counseling and research agency with several branches in the Washington area, said half of his agency's new clients came in as a result of a resolution. "Whatever your addiction tends to be -- eating, gambling, drugs, drinking -- Jan. 1 tends to be the time to give it up."
The Rev. Perry Smith III, minister of First Baptist Church of North Brentwood in Prince George's, said people may seek help more during this time of year because the euphoria of the holiday season has worn off. "A lot of people get caught up in the holiday season and when it's over they look at the circumstances around us and get shook back into reality."
Jenny Jamison, 43, of Springfield, said the economic downturn led her to resolve to save more money. "I'm going to try to save 10 percent of my check each week. I don't know if I can, but that's my resolution."
Joselito Banaticla, of the Bethesda Co-Op, where the customer count is up this week, said the new year is a time many make a "reaffirmation of healthy eating."
At the Glut Food Co-op in Mount Rainier, a woman shopped for an hour last Thursday, picking out health foods, said worker Larry Hofmeister. "That woman had never heard of tofu or tahini," he said. "She distinctly said I am going to do something for my body. Now we've got her eating whole wheat bread and brown rice."
The National Capital YMCA implemented a "Resolution Solution" program offering six free visits. More than 600 people have signed up, said membership supervisor John DeGout.
Michael Samuels, of Alexandria, has resolved, again, to eat better and work out more. He sighed as he took a break from weight lifting last week.
"I have probably made the same resolution for eight years, but I didn't follow through with it because of willpower," said the 24-year-old cost analyst. "But this time I am going to do it. I'm going to get in better shape and lose my gut from college."
Debbie Smither, 33, a secretary from Fairfax County, has made strides in her effort to stop smoking. She no longer puffs at her desk. "For me, that's a step."
But R. Grant Decker, a lawyer from Tysons Corner, made no resolutions. "In the past I've made them and broken them and this year I didn't want to deal with that disappointment."