How many people actually make new year resolutions? I haven’t done so in many years, although I’m not sure why. I make lists for all sorts of other things. We joke about what resolutions we want to make for the year. Resolutions are often vague and hard to measure, so that we’re not really sure if we’ve achieved them or not. Maybe it’s too overwhelming to make a long list….a few, short-term goals would be better, but somehow that’s not usually what we do. Then the feeling is, well, I’ll only make this list once a year, so it had better be comprehensive. And thus discouraging.
Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, a system where small measurable goals are used (lose a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.
Weekly or monthly resolutions are, in my humble opinion, much easier to deal with. But there are no social or cultural traditions that support that, like the new year resolutions. My new resolution: Time to make a new tradition!
A few thoughts about resolutions:
New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~Mark Twain
He who breaks a resolution is a weakling;
He who makes one is a fool.
A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~ Anonymous
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey
Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. ~Oscar Wilde
May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions. ~Joey Adams
We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~Ellen Goodman
I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~Anaïs Nin
Finally, in the words of an old Irish toast:
In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want.