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I hate New Year’s resolutions.

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Posted Jan 05 2014, Posted By Ralph Jacobowitz
Well, hate is maybe too strong a word—dislike is probably better. In any case I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Resolve just seems too vigorous a term. It also sounds like Ben Franklin hectoring me to improve myself (yes, I’m American). I take decisions all the time. I don’t need the start of a new year to stop, consider, review my life and possibly to boldly go where everyone has gone before.

January 1st is so arbitrary for the year’s beginning. It doesn’t relate to anything astronomical or scientific, anything religious or anything important. It has no relationship to the two great pleasures in life (food and sex) nor to life’s two certainties (death and taxes). So why take special decisions then?

Wikipedia’s article on January says:

According to Theodor Mommsen (The History of Rome, volume 4, The Revolution, ISBN 1-4353-4597-5, page 4), 1 January became the first day of the year in 600 AUC of the Roman Calendar (153 BC), due to disasters in the Lusitanian War. A Lusitanian chief called Punicus invaded the Roman territory, defeated two Roman governors, and slew their troops. The Romans resolved to send a consul to Spain, and in order to accelerate the dispatch of aid, "they even made the new consuls enter on office two months and a half before the legal time" (15th of March).

And the Wikipedia article on New Year’s Resolutions is pretty depressing. A study in 2007 found an 88% failure rate. (Who funded that?) And the list of frequent resolutions is banal beyond words.

I am going to start going to the gym regularly, but I decided to do that a good while ago and just waited until the holidays were over so that I wouldn’t lose momentum by starting to go and then not going during the holidays and feeling guilty. The decision was never a resolution, let alone a New Year’s resolution—just an ordinary choice.

Resolve away if you want, but I’m not joining in.

Happy New Year to one and all!

Posted By Ralph Jacobowitz
Category: Soho Confessions
Tags: New Years Resolutions, Ralphs rants
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