It’s that time when the self-improvementniks among us resolve to make resolutions. Think about that word: re-solution. A chance to find new ways to do the right thing, and to do things right. A chance to reverse what you did not so well last year. A chance to make amends. A chance to change. A chance not to let bad things happen by chance, to assert your will to achieve, no matter how modest the victory. An effort to learn, and re-learn, from past mistakes.
It’s all, as they say, good. Or is it? Are resolutions really placebos? A form of self-foolery? A lazy cousin of “I think, therefore I am”? “I resolve, therefore I am a better person already!”
Come the dawn of a new year, less than half of Americans (40%) even bother to resolve anything. So reported Dan Diamond in a Jan. 1, 2013 article for Forbes Magazine (http://tinyurl.com/b423z2r). He cited research from the University of Scranton that “just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.” For everyone else, resolve dissolves into a puddle of promise unfulfilled.
If you extrapolate the above stats, among all Americans, 3.2% of us make whole on resolutions. For a proud people who boast of “exceptionalism,” not very exceptional. It’s not even pedestrian. It’s pathetic (this writer included; oh, I make ’em with the best of ’em, and I try hard to keep ’em, and every so often come close, but a resolver’s work is never done.)