EDITORIAL: New Year, new resolution

What is the difference between a New Year’s resolution and a plain old-fashioned goal?

According to lore, it was ancient Babylonians who, 4,000 years ago, ushered in the new year making promises to the gods to repay debts and practice better behaviour for the coming year, believing favours and good fortune would be bestowed upon them.

Over three millennia later, is it the notion of repenting for bad behaviour that drives our tradition of resolutions for a new year, or is it a fancy way of saying, “I’d like to achieve something this year”?

To resolve something lends the idea that it needs to be fixed, or a solution found. To set forth down a planned path with the intent of reaching a desired result, denotes the beginning of a mission, however great or small.

We’re not sure when the two became one in the same, as seems to be the 21st Century idea behind the tradition.

Ask around and you’ll find Victorians who tell you they’re going to eat better this year, quit smoking, lose weight, finally try yoga or get on one of the city’s new bike paths. They’ll tell you they want to be more of something, or less of something else. Or they may not tell you anything at all, because only one in three Canadians set a New Year’s resolution, while a whopping 70 per cent of them fail, many by February.

Are those failures the result of the pressure that accompanies such a drastic timeline to change something about yourself?

What if, instead of setting New Year’s resolutions to keep up with the proverbial Jones’, we all just took a minute to be content with the achievements of 2017, however earth-shattering or minor they were.

We’re all growing, evolving and changing all the time and we don’t need a tradition to gauge our progress on it.

They say comparison can be the thief of joy – the one thing we could all do with a little more of.

So make a resolution not to make a New Year’s resolution – how’s that for a goal?

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