“Learn 12 new skills. Do 12 charitable things that don’t involve writing a check.”
–Stephen Duneier, cognitive science practitioner
New Year’s resolutions date back to the Babylonians when promises were made to the gods to pay off debts and return borrowed items. The Romans made promises to the god Janus (January) in hopes of a favorable new year.
In Medieval times, knights took the “peacock vow” to reaffirm commitments to chivalry, an honorable way of behaving, especially toward women.
Christians gathered for “Watchnight” services to pray and make life changes in the coming year.
Most resolutions involve acts of self-improvement or doing something to improve the life of others, or both.
Pinterest posted: “The New Year means nothing if you are still in love with your comfort zone.”
That’s probably why New Year’s resolutions can be so tough. A few things people traditionally try is to: eat healthy, lose weight, exercise more, save money, get out of debt, stop smoking, drink less alcohol, watch less TV, get a new job, improve social skills or make a new friend.
An Internet list included “more”: get more sleep, drink more water, read more, get more organized, explore more, relax more, have more patience, manage your time better, waste less, parent better, break a bad habit, pick a place to visit, a book to read, a letter to write, a new food to try, listen more, or forget trying to “do more” and just do your best by deciding to be a happier and more fulfilled person. Start by making small life changes.
Surveys on the failure rate of New Year’s resolutions attribute 35 percent to unrealistic goals, 33 percent to not keeping track of progress and 23 percent to simply forgetting; the remainder included making too many resolutions.
Advice to increase the chances of success is to make specific, small and measurable goals. Also, making one’s resolution public and having supportive friends greatly increases the chances of resolution success.
Thus, I’ve decided to make a New Year’s resolution that has been years in the making, and to increase my chances of success as well as heighten my fear of failure and public humiliation, I’m making my resolution known. Ah … here goes.
First, let me explain I have devoured with pleasure biographies of people who have given up something for a whole year. There’s something attractive to me about voluntary suffering (to a degree).
I’ve read the book about not buying anything made in China, not buy anything but necessities, deciding to only eat local and seasonally grown food, and now I’m reading “The Big Tiny.”
Dee Williams downsized from a 2,000-square-foot house to an 84-square-foot tiny house she built herself. So …
I’m committed to giving up buying any item of apparel, including shoes, for an entire year. This includes thrifting or anything else. It will be a powerful exercise in willpower. I’ve managed to sacrifice for the 40 days of Lent when, at completion, I thrifted like a thirsty pilgrim.
Sam thinks my New Year’s resolution is a great idea.
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