Today is the first Monday of 2019 and my calendar pages are already filled with appointments, tasks and things I’m not supposed to forget. Inevitably, I’ll forget something, and some tasks are still left over from 2018. But for the moment, efficiency and order appear possible. Who knows? This could be the year I finally finish sorting family photos. So far, they’ve morphed from a chaotic bin to an equally disorganized digital file. And I must admit, completion of this project is one of my goals for 2019 — right after I finish the next book.
Notice I used the word “goal,” not “resolution.” Our culture has used the new year as an opportunity to make new “resolutions” for so long the term is all but meaningless. On the other hand, the process is worth considering.
According to Peter Economy, 60 per cent of Americans make new year resolutions. Over half of those fail by January 31. On the up side, 8 percent of Resolvers achieve the goals they set. If you made new year resolutions, you might want to review them to assess your chances of success. Are your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely? If so, you could be one of the 8 percent.
So, what kinds of things do people resolve to do?
Seventy-one percent resolve to eat differently, usually in the form of a diet or a greater selection of healthy foods. I’m already a fan of foods that are fresh and green. Some of my constant edibles are
dark chocolate, for its anti-oxidant properties, and also because I really like chocolate; nuts and seeds, which I grab when the munchies hit, and yogurt mixed with granola, my go-to breakfast. Leave a comment and share your favorite healthy foods.
Sixty-five percent of people making a new year resolution promise to exercise more. This is why January is a busy month at your local gym. I’m doing okay in this category, though there’s always room for improvement. The good news is, active movement in daily activities counts for fitness.
Interestingly, with 71 percent of resolvers adjusting their diet, and 65 percent doing more exercise, only 54 percent selected the weight loss option
Seventeen percent of the folks in Peter Economy’s report resolve to read more, an activity that is good for developing our intelligence, skills in problem solving, vocabulary, and ability to analyze unfamiliar situations. Twenty-six percent hope to learn a new skill, which may be as helpful as reading.
Sadly only 13 percent said they wanted to spend more time with family or friends.
Equally disheartening is that popular new year resolutions are about the Resolver and his or her personal goals. We don’t look beyond ourselves into our community, workplace, or the world at large.
In 1917, a time when Americans were involved in World War I, B. C. Forbes, founder of Forbes Magazine suggested 57 goals. Some of these were for personal improvement, but others reached out to others. These included:
• Contributing to the world
• Doing tasks with greater cheerfulness
• Being more considerate of others
• Being an inspiration, not a “wet blanket”
• Exercising more self-control, self-reliance, and unselfishness
• Realizing how little I deserve and recognizing how much I have
• Making simplicity a part of myself
You can read the entire list here.
Goals that improve our health and financial well-being are practical choices resulting in good effects. If we could also resolve to look beyond ourselves, we could also evolve as members of a joint humanity.
A fresh year stretches before us. How do you want to spend it?
Happy New Year Card by Viscious-Speed. Creative Commons Attribution.
Photo of market display by author.
Fixed Wheel Adjustable Indoor Bike by WyrdLight.com
Miss Auras. Public Domain.
B. C. Forbes. Public Domain.
Abram Brown. “57 Time Tested New Year’s Resolutions for 2019. Forbes. Jan. 1, 2019.
Peter Economy. “10 Top New Year’s Resolutions.” Inc. Jan. 1, 2019.
Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.
Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.