Just like spring when baseball teams begin a new season with a fresh slate, the new year is the time to list our promises. Whether it's getting rid of old bad habits or starting a new chapter, our end game should be self-improvement.

In part, the practice of New Year's resolutions came from the Lenten sacrifices but regardless of creed, we can all reflect upon our weaknesses and resolve to be better.

Popular resolutions often involve our spiritual, physical or mental well-being but there is also room to improve our finances, career or in social interactions such as volunteering, or spending quality time with family.

The odds of following through on resolutions are stacked against us. One study involving 3,000 people by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol showed that 88 percent of those who set New Year resolutions fail.

There are some however, who do mean business, literally.

John Herod, who runs a Schlotzsky's Deli and Cinnabon in Abilene, Texas, made news last month when, in the midst of the holiday season, he posted a message on the marquee outside, alerting customers that the business was "Closed for Attitude Adjustment."

Herod felt his employees were not offering an acceptable level of customer service. There weren't a lot of smiles and the service was slower than what he felt his customers deserved.

Some workers were let go and those remained went through retraining on everything from cleaning to preparing the food. Herod explained he wanted each employee to have time to think about the job they were doing, and the service they were giving out.

Herod may have latched onto something with his self-improvement model. When children need correcting, parents order a "time out" for them to reflect. The adult version is called "attitude adjustment" and just like the children, there is no shortage of candidates.

By Jim Zbick

editor@tnonline.com