2008 Skelly Family Holiday Celebration Website
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne

New Year's Day: Be It Firmly Resolved

First, did you make a New Year's Resolution this year? Second, is it still intact, or is it already broken?

According to Harris Interactive, a Rochester, NY, research firm, 66% of us have at one time made New Year Resolutions, but only 17% actually keep them throughout the New Year. So the odds are against us. But still we beat on, boats against the tide.

According to a NY Times article last year, one-third of resolutions won’t even make it to the end of January. People aim too high, get lost in generalities, have too many other things to worry about already or weren't that committed in the first place.

The tradition of making New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year. Like so many things the Romans did, such as empire-building and the practice of binge eating and drinking followed by purging, these things caught on.

About.com:Pittsburgh catalogs the 10 most popular modern resolutions as follows.
  1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
  2. Fit in Fitness
  3. Tame the Bulge
  4. Quit Smoking
  5. Enjoy Life More
  6. Quit Drinking
  7. Get Out of Debt
  8. Learn Something New
  9. Help Others
  10. Get Organized

No doubt, it's all part of our never-ending quest to improve ourselves as human beings. Or at least to give others—and maybe even ourselves—the impression that self-improvement is something we're really interested in.

There is also a philosophical predisposition to want things to get better and to believe that they will or at least can. So that we have something to look forward to and don't have to blow our brains out in despair year after year.

An array of sentiments on New Year's Resolutions and the New Year in general can be found by clicking the "Christmas Yet to Come" link at the top right-side of this page.

But like any good idea (think financial derivatives), New Year's Resolutions can be taken too far. The following sentiments on the subject were offered many years ago by someone I've always considered one of our clearer-eyed observers of human nature.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again. Then give up. There's no use being a damned fool about it." That from William Claude Dunkenfield. You probably knew him as W. C. Fields. Happy New Year, everyone. Let's hope it's a good one. (Many of us are overdue.) And let's hope it doesn't fizzle out in January.