The New Year is around the corner and millions of people around the world are busy devising their resolutions for the upcoming year. The statistics are dismal. Only 25% of people will adhere to their declarations to make themselves thinner, fitter, wealthier, better at their jobs or less dependent on drugs or alcohol. The origin of the New Year’s Resolution dates to 153 B.C. when Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar, giving us the name January.
The two faces of Janus allowed him to look back on past events and forward to the future thus making Janus the ancient symbol for resolutions. Why, when people have the best intentions, do they fail to achieve their goals and often abandon trying within a few weeks?
My thought is that people need to alter their definition of resolutions. The most common New Year’s resolutions are life-style changes and should be deemed as such. Instead of creating lofty goals once a year that appear daunting, make small changes that you incorporate into your daily living and make them a routine. If you are trying to lose weight, a crash diet will only leave you hungry, frustrated and is doomed to fail. An exercise program will only be successful if it lasts beyond the first two weeks of the year; instead of going everyday in the beginning, start out with 2-3 days a week and build from there (our gym is jammed in January only to see a steady decline afterward). Think of the brilliant lesson from Aesop’s fable The Tortoise and the Hare — slow and steady wins the race.
Resolutions should not require fancy diets, gym memberships or financial advisers. Resolutions should come from within. I think resolutions should include: being nicer to others, gossiping less, making sure your family and friends know how much you care about them, and being more charitable. I underachieve in accomplishing every single item on that list every single year. For the year 2010, let’s resolve to conquer that list and help raise that 25%.
Happy New Year.