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According to Wikipedia...
A New Year resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a personal goal, project, or the reforming of a habit. This lifestyle change is generally interpreted as advantageous. A New Year's resolution is generally a goal someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year.
There are religious parallels to this secular tradition. During Judaism's New Year, Rosh Hashanah, though the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one's wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Christian fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.
I am a HUGE new year's resolution fan. I know i am in the minority...all but one of the blogs i read started their recent new year's posts by saying, "I never make new year's resolutions, but..." or "I am not a resolution maker" or "new year's resolutions are so cliche..." blah blah blah. I told Brad today that there are two types of non-resolution makers. Those who never make them because they are very motivated people who already make resolutions/goals throughout the year...and those who never make them because they believe there is no point, you're not going to keep them anyway.
That last group i mentioned? Kind of annoying to me. If you are making goals/resolutions year-round & don't need January 1st to do that, then i think you are pretty awesome. (I personally NEED January 1st. I do make goals all year round, especially regarding weight-loss, and whether you set goals on Jan 1 or not, you probably should still set smaller goals throughout the year. But i love setting goals for the first of the new year. It feels like a brand new start, a clean slate, and sometimes i just need that.)
But if you are just never setting goals & always saying (about the new year kind anyway), "What's the point? Nobody ever keeps new year's resolutions. They never work!" Well, why don't you set a realistic goal & focus on it a bit! You might do better than you think! Like Brad said this morning (after i told him so many people think setting new year's resolutions is setting yourself up to fail), "the reason you failed is not because of your resolution. It's because of you." Maybe you set something too big or too ridiculous or something you would never ever do in a million years! Well, duh. Of course you won't succeed. But set something realistic that you really want to do? You can do it. =) And if you don't, maybe the time just wasn't right. Maybe it wasn't the year for that & maybe you didn't realize it. It's okay.
More from Wikipedia:
popular goals include resolutions to:
-improve health (lose weight, exercise more, eat better, quit smoking)
-improve finances (get out of debt, save money)
-improve career (get a better job)
-improve education (improve grades, go back to school, learn something new)
-improve self (become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpy, manage time)
-Take a Trip
Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, and those who succeed have 5 traits in common. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying "lose weight"), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.
Okay, given he facts above, i see why people are so pessimistic about the success of making New Year's Resolutions. But i just don't see how setting goal's for a new year can be anything but good. Take a chance!
Also. Why is it that we think anything below 100% is failing? You miss 5 questions on a 100-question test, but you didn't fail. There are 365 days in a year (366 next year!). If you mess up 50 times, i wouldn't say you failed. I think as long as you set realistic goals, do your best to achieve them, and try again when you mess up - then you are indeed successful. =)
My 2009 Resolutions:
Read the Bible in a Year.
I didn't do this last year. I started out well & then dropped it. At some point this fall, Laura asked me how it was going & i told her it wasn't. She helped me by offering to read the Bible "with" me. We'd read the same passages & email each other about what we read. That was awesome & got me back into my Bible reading groove! We read 2 Corinthians together & then Galatians & then Acts. =) I really appreciated her being a friend by not only encouraging me but actually helping me! Even though i didn't read through the entire Bible in a year, i still read much more than in 2009! One can hardly consider that a failure.
Get thru my HTML book.
Ha. This SO did not happen. And i'm okay with that. It's on my shelf & maybe one day i'll decide i wanna read it. I'm not going to make it a priority though.
Overall, i did pretty well with this one. This fall was not good. At all. I am speaking of October, November & December. It's all fallen by the wayside. While i was mad at myself, because i was GOOD during the 2009 holidays, i am still thankful that i did well from January - September. I kept picking myself back up & focusing again. This may be something i have to work at forever, but i know that it is SO worth it. In June of 2010, i reached 23 pounds lost & even though it took a whole year, i was proud that i changed SO many eating habits. 2011 will definitely continue my resolution to be more healthy!
So there ya have it. Stay tuned: 2011 Resolution post coming right up!