Whilst doing research on New Year’s Resolutions, I came across this article in the Huffington Post (link at bottom) about the origins, traditions, and religious basis for individuals vowing to change established behaviors.
What motivates us to make New Year’s Resolutions? We can vow to change at any point, but why wait until January 1st?
I made a resolution 3 years ago to make 2011 the “Year of Firsts”, where I would try to experience many things for the first time. First international trip. First time trying different foods. First time buying a car by myself. First time taking myself to dinner and a movie (alone GASP!) It was quite successful, and was a fantastic conversation starter in the beginning few months. Why didn’t I go with a more common resolution, like working out more and losing weight? I know from personal experience that a thin person is not automatically healthy. I’m considered obese and, as of now, I have no health issues. However, my trim friends collectively have knee problems, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebral palsy, and lupus. Why the emphasis on appearance? Do we appear healthy on the outside, while we do nothing about our rotten insides? Do we make resolutions for ourselves or others? Here’s the list of common 2014 Resolutions.
1. Lose weight
2. Getting organized
3. Spend less, save more
4. Enjoy life to the fullest
5. Stay fit and healthy
6. Learn something exciting
7. Quit smoking
8. Help others in their dreams
9. Fall in love
10. Spend more time with family
I think my “Year of Firsts” covers half this list, but I bring up a question to you, reader. What makes a resolution successful? What makes it reasonable? My New Year’s Resolution is to quit drinking for a year and to document the psychological, physiological, and emotional changes. I know it’s doable, but is it reasonable?
If you’ve read my first post, you’d know that I’m angry. I’m angry all the time. I’m angry about other people’s behavior, inconsideration, lying, manipulation, etc. These are not new emotions. These are not new behaviors. They exist in us all, and come out at the worst of times. Perhaps they’re just more visible to me now? Well, the last thing I need to be is drunk and angry, so I want to try this and see how it goes.
2014 was a year of healing, exploration, and trying to piece together some resemblance of an existence. My existence is not what I want it to be, but I do not know what is broken. I cannot fix something efficiently unless I have all the information, variables, and know the system. I need to pinpoint what broke so I can repair it, and this diagnostic is taking its rosey ol’ sweet time. Speaking of time, here’s the list of resolutions from 1947.
1. Improve my disposition, be more understanding, control my temper
2. Improve my character, live a better life
3. Stop smoking, smoke less
4. Save more money
5. Stop drinking, drink less
6. Be more religious, go to church oftener
7. Be more efficient, do a better job
8. Take better care of my health
9. Take greater part in home life
10. Lose (or gain) weight
Have things changed in 70 years? These resolutions are more relatable for me than the more recently documented. When I quit drinking, I suspect half this list will happen. I’ll be more efficient. I’ll have better health. I’ll save money. I’m not a smoker now, but sometimes when having a beer in the sun, a craving creeps up.
Will I have a better understanding of people? Will I have a better life? We’ll see.