Sara Ruch is still getting settled into her job as James City County’s emergency manager.
Ruch spent about five-and-a-half years as Hampton’s deputy coordinator of emergency management before coming to the county in April.
Though she works in James City, she doesn’t live there — yet. Ruch lives in Newport News and has resolved to budget better so she can find a place to live in the county in 2018 and spend more time with friends. One of her friends just moved into the county, and another just had a baby.
“No more big trips for me for awhile,” Ruch said. “My goal is to spend more time with my friends and be around their little ones as they grow up.”
Having set and achieved goals in the past years to travel — going to places such as Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Italy and taking a Rhine River cruise with her parents last year — Ruch’s goal this year is to spend more time outdoors.
Growing up in northern Minnesota, where she said the weather wasn’t as conducive to outdoor activities — and then also having more of an interest in the arts — Ruch’s interest in the outdoors is a recent thing.
“One of my friends, she wants to do a half-marathon in every single state, and so far … an 8K (5 miles) is the farthest I’ve run,” Ruch said. “So if I can do a 10K (6.2 miles) or possibly work myself up to a half-marathon, or do a triathlon or something that really challenges me, I think that would be something fun to do.”
Ruch usually isn’t inclined to share her goals with friends and family until she gets close to reaching them.
“I hate to say I’m never going to do something, so it’s just a matter of when I’m going to get there,” Ruch said. “I’ll get it done, and I will accomplish it, unless … I personally decide I’ll never do it. I’m not going to give up on something and just say no.”
Becky McHugh has spent a lot of time living and working in the Williamsburg region, but 2018 will bring her a new adventure with a new job opportunity in Cary, N.C.
McHugh, 32, has worked for The Dolben Company as an assistant property manager and property manager at different apartment communities, including Spotswood Commons on Longhill Road.
She made the choice to relocate because, though she’s enjoyed growing up in Williamsburg, she’s excited to move to a larger area.
“I’m originally from Williamsburg, so this move is a whole new chapter and world for me, so I want to explore the area by trying things I wouldn’t normally go out and do,” McHugh said.
McHugh said she will stay motivated to keep her resolution to get out, make new friends and enjoy her new community just outside of Raleigh. By using Groupon and the Meetup app, she said she’s staying on track for the new year, and believes that will help keep her from being a couch potato next year.
She’s kept one of the more challenging resolutions many people make: losing weight. In 2016, she lost 70 pounds sticking to that resolution.
“The hardest part of keeping resolutions is remembering that there’s a reason behind why I want this change,” McHugh said. “I think the one time we miss the gym or the one time we impulsively buy something instead of keeping to our resolution, it makes us give up entirely. I don’t want one set back to mess up a year’s long resolution.”
A resolution in Russian
When Williamsburg police officer Kara Lyapun sets a goal for herself, she’s likely to achieve it. If she doesn’t, she’s going to have a hard time dealing with it.
“I have plan A, plan B, plan C, plan D. I constantly have goals and different ways of how to accomplish that,” Lyapun said. “I never like to leave myself open for any vulnerability, for something to fail. Failure is difficult for me to handle, so I like to avoid that. But I also understand that with failure comes growth. So if I do stumble, as long as you pick yourself up and you continue, it’s not really failing. It’s learning a lesson, in my mind.”
From the time she was a little girl, Lyapun, 24, knew she wanted to be a police officer. She achieved that goal and has been with the Williamsburg Police Department for just over a year.
But besides the regular and broad goals to improve herself professionally (become a better officer) and personally (improve fitness, finances and eat fewer carbohydrates), she has a resolution to learn to speak Russian.
Having dated someone from Ukraine in the past, which started her down the road to learning the language (her then-boyfriend’s family also spoke Russian in addition to Ukrainian), she would like to become fluent and find a speaking partner, then save money to travel to Russia to visit friends.
But her resolutions start with the small things.
“For example, making your bed everyday when you wake up,” Lyapun said. “A lot of people when they do New Year’s resolutions, they do big goals. … But it all starts with something small.”
A Navy SEAL video inspired her to that goal as a way to set the tone for the rest of the day.
“You wake up in the morning, you make your bed ... you brush your teeth, you shower, you get dressed and you go on,” Lyapun said. “You start your day off well. Just accomplishing that little tiny thing gives you that motivation, gives you that confidence, that if I can do that, I can do much more. I live by that. I like that.”