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New Year’s resolutions never work. The reason is that first key word, resolution, dooms the maker to failure. Tradition might dictate a perfunctory list-making but it never requires follow-through. It is not like one is swearing an oath, as resolving to do something carries no weight.
One might as well own up to the ruse and name the ritual something else. Making a list of intentions is more appropriate. New Year’s Intentions doesn’t sound like one is making much of a commitment so the tradition is most likely in danger of disappearing. I intend to lose 10 pounds. I plan on getting more exercise. I hope to eat healthier. These three are usually the first items to go on the list of New Year’s Resolutions.
New Year’s plans are equally lightweight. Rather than sounding like a serious stock-taking of one’s progress, the word plan leaves room for cancellation. Looking back at the beginning of the tradition would most likely yield all sorts of arcane information about the establishment of the tradition and with that, the untold story of all the resolutions broken along the way. The changing of the yearly calendar brings talk of renewal and starting over with a clean slate. The purpose of making plans is the beginning step toward change, but it remains just that, plans, over the next few months if they aren’t put into action.
Hopes for change in the New Year lets the resolution-maker off the hook completely. While it sounds optimistic, the idea of making a change disappears in the blink of an eye. So it all boils down to resolving to not resolve anything in January — just forgo the New Year tradition. It is the one tradition that could go out with the old year and not ever come back. Happy New Year!