Why Make A New Year’s Resolution?

By Cheryl Ryan

Have you considered making any resolutions this year?  I hadn’t, until now. More often than not I make them but for the life of me I can’t remember making any last year, where I wrote them, or what my goals were.  That’s a fairly good indication that 2020 was a resolution bust. I guess if there’s ever a year to fall short it would be 2020 so now I’m pinning my hopes on 2021.

Far from a modern phenomenon, the history of people making some version of New Year’s resolutions can be traced back 4000 years.  From agrarian and religious groups to the modern secular version it stems from a desire to leave behind the previous year while moving to embrace the new year with renewed dedication.  What better year to get this right?  Especially since my will power is sorely suffering these days. 

My daughter tried to get her book group to write down how 2020 affected them so that they could share it with each other at the next meeting.  The group was less than enthusiastic so she enlisted her best friend to do it.  Each came at if from a personal perspective and she said it was really moving and cathartic to share this past year with one another. I’m going to try this myself but you could also just keep it simple and write a pro/con list that includes the unintended positives alongside those things that you never want to happen again.  It seems like an especially great way to leave this year behind before starting anew.

Resolution Methods

Some people use resolution themes such as become more focused and patient or learn Spanish. I like the idea but I think I need to be more specific like take one Spanish class. I actually wrote learn Spanish on previous lists, each year rolling it to the next, but never achieving it.  Then I wrote, take a Spanish class and I did that for several years.  I still can’t speak fluent Spanish but after three years of classes, I can understand and actually say a few words.   

The odds of achieving resolutions aren’t great and yet we keep doing it year after year. So be kind to yourself or even consider just choosing a word for the year. Even as I write this I’m not sure what I’m going to resolve to do but I plan to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors and commit to new intentions in 2021.  I may not be successful in all of my resolutions but I do intend to remember where I write them.

Please share any of your resolution hits or misses with us and best of luck to you if you are going to give it a try again this year! 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Lorraine Gabbert January 5, 2021 at 9:24 am

    I love all these variations. It’s a creative and accessible approach. 🙂

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