As one who most certainly falls into the 88% of people who fail to keep their New Year’s Resolutions (I stopped making them to avoid the inevitable failure), I thought it might be fun for some of us at HMC to share to with the world what we’re striving to achieve this year. The idea here is that maybe if we share them with the world, we’ll actually stick with them. First, some fun history.
The tradition of making promises to ourselves that we likely won’t keep dates back to Babylonians who used to make promises to their gods at the beginning of each year (which, for them, was our March). These promises typically had to do with repaying debts or returning borrowed items. There are no reliable data on what percentage of Babylonians kept their promises.
Romans picked up and ran with the idea, honoring their god Janus (where we get the name January). Janus was a two-headed god, one head looking back into the old year, the other looking forward into the new year. Most of the resolutions from the Janus era involved being nice to others. They didn’t have trans fats and high fructose corn syrup to deal with, so losing weight wasn’t as popular.
When the Romans adopted Christianity as the official religion of the empire, it took all of the fun out of the Roman new year (just kidding, kind of). Rather than indulge in pagan celebrations, the Christians instead observed the Feast of the Circumcision, which sounds troubling and terrifying. However, it was a much more quaint affair, and was much more safe in the eyes of Vengeful God than the revelry of paganism.
As always, the Puritans made it even more lame, urging their followers to skip ALL revelry and celebration and instead reflect on how terrible of a person you were over the past year. You also had to think about ways to not be terrible in the coming year, even though you would fail in the eyes of your fellow Puritans. In this sense, the old Babylonian practice of making resolutions was reborn. Puritan resolutions typically revolved around using their skills more effectively, being nice to others, and abstaining from habitual sins.
At HMC, we’re going to work on reigning in some of our excesses and taking better care of ourselves. We’ll be: exercising more, drinking less alcohol, drinking more alcohol, eating more healthy foods, more punctual, letting others know we appreciate them, performing more stand-up comedy, connecting with family, traveling far away, brewing our own beer, taking a cooking class, improving our running time, reading more, finishing a novel, skiing more, doodling, and snowshoeing.
So, in other words, we’ll be busy.
What do you think? Do any of us have a chance at success? Should we put together some over/unders and phone them in to Vegas? (Those guys will bet on anything!)