January 7, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

Motivation for the rest of usIt's that time of year again for New Year's Resolutions. I have been seeing a lot of New Year's resolutions from friends, family and strangers. While I am a firm believer in self improvement I couldn't help to get a little discouraged at the resolutions I have been seeing. In fact, I've only really seen one resolution: It's a variation on losing weight.   

On one hand, losing weight is hard and it's not wrong to want a healthier version of yourself. But on the other hand, the only thing we resolve to work for is to be a smaller version of ourselves? It's depressing to think about. I am appalled that people think it is of utmost importance to change their outsides without giving much thought to their insides.

Whatever happened to more noble resolutions such as resolving to volunteer more or vowing to stop fighting with the in-laws? To give more, to complain less? To make amends for wrongdoings? To get more done?

Or any of the virtues that Ben Franklin pursued: 

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates. 
Seriously guys, balance is important. :) Next year I want to see resolutions that read "In 2016 I will lose weight AND read more!" "Lose weight and finally build that tool shed I've been promising my wife." "Become the first man on Mars and lose a lot of weight."

Maybe I am thinking too much into this as according to Forbes, only 8% of people achieve their New Year's goals anyway.  If you are one of the 92%, you might find that you have a higher success rate if you learn just how to write a good New Year's Resolution. The Forbes article states that you should make your resolutions tangible and achievable.

Here is a great example from The American Magazine from 1917 to get you started:
New Year's Resolutions History

All joking aside I am one of those crazy New Year's Resolution people. I love planning what I am going to do with my new year and love hearing what everyone else wants to do. This year it's my goal to foster more community among bloggers. I hope to do some guest posts on other blogs and to have other bloggers featured here. I'd even like to meet some of you in person. I've been avoiding events for awhile but I hope to get out to a few this year. I also hope to cook more historical recipes.  

What are some of your resolutions this year?


  1. I always put a variation of weight loss, but it's mostly health related for me. I have thyroid issues and they have been getting better. I'm getting healthier and I want to keep that up. Not because I want to be thin, I just want to be healthy. Of course, I have other goals too because my body/health isn't the only thing.

    1. :D I was just thinking about it. It would be nice to see the other resolutions. Losing weight is the only one I've been seeing.

  2. To see a bigger version of the image at the bottom, right click and select "open in new tab." I don't know why blogger has to be difficult.

  3. I have nothing to add, except that James Montgomery Flagg is the artist who created the character of Uncle Sam for those famous recruiting posters during WW1.

    My only resolution I make every year is this one: "Don't make this year a repeat of last year. Do something different."

  4. I don't typically do New Year's resolutions. I do have a long list of things I want to do this year, but the timing of it has a lot more to do with losing my job, trying to break into a new career, and becoming the person I want to be. Here are some of the things from that list:

    - Learn a few more programming languages
    - Join an open source project
    - Start my own project
    - Start playing music again
    - Refresh German and resume the study of Irish
    - Eat healthier
    - Get exercise every day, because I won't be working hard physically anymore

  5. I don't do New Year's resolutions, as I've mentioned on my blog last year - I just do them whenever it feels necessary... I suspect the weight loss has a lot to do with the excess of eating in the holiday season - at least that's the way it's usually presented here in the Czech Republic - and at least here, it's not usuall just limited to that, although it admittedly iswhat you read most often in media.
    It's funny, because we read Franklin at school last semester. And funny because... well, I found his idea of working on each of his virtue one specific day a week somewhat... I don't know, impractical in the mess that is Real Life and its unexpected demands? And so very Enlightenment/neoclassical, which was precisely why we read it in the first place. :D
    I find Jaroslav Foglar's "Blue Life" principle more applicable, where you have a list of things you want to do and virtues you want to stick to every day. If you managed to do/stick to a particular one, you fill it blue for that particular day (if you do the whole table thing he came up with for his boy Scouts troop and books). I only did it for a week at a summer camp, but I think it's a more practical if also more simplified approach. Not that there's anything wrong with Franklin's list as such, I just did not like his practicalities of it much. :D


Tell me what you think!

Copyright © 2008-2020 Stephanie Ann Farra. All rights reserved.

All materials posted on this site are subject to copyrights owned by Stephanie Ann Farra. Any reproduction, retransmissions, or republication of all or part of any document found on this site is expressly prohibited, unless the author has explicitly granted its prior written consent to so reproduce, retransmit, or republish the material. All other rights reserved.