- n. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
- n. A resolving to do something.
- n. A course of action determined or decided on.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
About half of Americans say they make a New Year’s resolution. But, a Forbes online article published this week said that 8 out of 10 of us will give up on it within the first few weeks of making it.
That’s just about everyone.
I’m not sure who the other two people are, but I’m guessing they set their goals pretty low just so they can make the rest of us look bad. Maybe they get out of their chair to change the television, instead of using the remote control.
I’m a member of both groups. I make a resolution, but never stick to it. My resolution for 2018 was to remember what it was by the end of the year.
I’m sorry to report that I have no idea what it was.
It most likely had something to do with losing weight. That tends to be the one that I commit to after I’ve eaten an entire Greenberg Turkey and two pecan pies at Thanksgiving. But, then Christmas rolls around, and another Greenberg Turkey and more pecan pies…you see the cycle here.
Losing weight is big business (pun intended). People like Dr. Atkins and Jenny Craig, and facilities such as Gold’s Gym, the YMCA, and Anytime Fitness, bring in a lot of money from folks who have the best of intentions, but no follow through.
An article in U.S. News & World Report said that we spend about $60 billion annually on things related to losing pounds. That would be on fitness memberships, weight loss programs, and even diet soda. Most of our $60 billion in efforts fall by the wayside and never actually help their purchaser achieve their original goal.
I’d like to point out that $60 billion would buy a lot of Greenberg Turkeys and pecan pies.
People have the intention of losing weight, we just don’t possess the ability.
I signed up at Anytime Fitness, but couldn’t quite commit. I paid for a one-year membership, but made sure it was during the Renaissance.
Speaking of a long time ago, I was surprised to learn that resolutions are nothing new. I wrongfully assumed that they were something that had come about over the last century. But, it turns out that people have wanted to improve themselves for much longer than that.
LiveScience.Com published an article in December 2017 that included a survey of what people were committing to do in 2018. Not surprisingly, the most popular resolutions were to “Be a better person,” and “Lose weight.” Next, were “Exercise more,” “Eat healthier,” and “Get a better job.”
All of these vows were also made by people who lived long before any of us.
The same article went on to say that during the Bronze Age, men took oaths to better themselves. But, it was the Babylonians who get the credit for being the first people to make what we would now call, New Year’s resolutions – 4,000 years ago.
During a 12-day religious festival called Akitu, the Babylonians pledged their allegiance to their king, or to a new one if one had come along. History.com published an article that added to the same story, indicating that in addition to their allegiance to their royalty, Babylonian men also promised to pay any debts they owed and to return any items they had borrowed.
Wouldn’t it be great if people today made simple commitments like those? We could call them, “Realistic Resolutions,” and then maybe, just maybe, our friends would pay back the loans we’ve made them, and the neighbor would return that hammer and hedge trimmer.
I guess we can always dream big.
That might be the key, right there. If we can make a resolution that’s more for other people than for ourselves, we might actually succeed. After all, losing weight is an admirable goal, and it’s certainly a step toward better health, but if we made a commitment to do something to make things right with others – especially those we truly care about – then we might actually stick to our resolutions.
Don’t get me wrong. I do need to lose a few pounds. It would help my blood pressure, and make me feel a lot better. It might also get me closer to my New Year’s resolution from 1989 – Get Meg Ryan to notice me.
That likely doesn’t fall under the “Realistic Resolutions” category, but certainly, Meg is worth the weight.
©2018 John Moore
John’s book, Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now, is available on Amazon.
Email John at John@TheCountryWriter.com.