Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The New Year's Resolution

If you thought you were going to find out what my New Year's resolution is, sorry - I didn't make any this year.  I resolve occasionally  to try to do things better.  Sometimes after a great sermon, like the one Pastor Mike of Salem UCC, in Catasauqua did a few weeks back on Attitudes;  I resolved to have a better attitude at work.  However, like many resolutions, it is difficult to keep.  The pressure of deadlines, and attitudes of others, clients included can affect my way of thinking.  That's why resolutions are so hard.  We set high goals once a year and expect ourselves to meet them.  I rather work my way gradually to a goal, like eating better.  From years at Weight Watchers I really know how to eat better (I just don't always do it).  However, we eat less fried food and more vegetables and whole grains, but at Christmas some of that eating flies out the door.  I had also quit Weight Watchers in the beginning of November so I could have more money for Christmas Shopping; but, I will rejoin this Thursday, mainly because I am noisy and want to know what the new plan is all about.(I have to brace myself though, lots of people will be joining, just like lots of people go back to the gyms)   It will also help me and my family get back on a healthier eating track.

So where did New Year's Resolutions start?  Well, the ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.

The Romans began each year by making promises to the god  Janus, for whom the month of January is named.

In the Medieval era,  the knights took the "peacock vow" at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.

 At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults formed New Year's resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, about 40% did.

So how successful are New Year's Resolutions?   A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning. 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.

So, if you really want to make a New Year's Resolution, go ahead, share your goals and find the right support, and you are more likely to succeed.

In the meantime I have some Christmas candy and cookies to finish off before Thursday .......and that's another day in Catasauqua.