Making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition that began many centuries ago.
Babylonians promised their gods they would start each new year by “returning borrowed objects and pay their debts.”
Romans made promises to Janus, the god for whom January is named.
Medieval knights took “peacock vows” at the end of the Christmas season to “reaffirm their commitment to chivalry.”
Christians used to prepare for the new year by praying and making resolutions.”
Resolutions cross various religious lines. Judaism spends Rosh Hashanah and the High Holidays to “reflect on one’s wrongdoings over the year before seeking and offering forgiveness.”
In 1995 a Gallup Poll for the American Medical Association found that up to 50 percent of Americans make resolutions for the coming year. About 46 percent of those resolutions included weight loss, exercise and quitting smoking that sometimes succeed.
Resolutions focusing on major life changes often fail. In 2001, Richard Wiseman at the University of Bristol found that 88 percent of those who make resolutions fail to achieve them.
In 1994, I did keep a resolution to wife Amy to no longer drink — six months after joining Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m 24 years, six months and 24 days into keeping that resolution.
My failure to keep — or in some cases could not remember — such resolutions led me to stop making them several years ago. “A waste of time,” I said. I resolved to stop making resolutions. I’ve found that promises made at other times of the year seem to work.
Last April, I rejoined the Floyd Fitness Center to get back into shape. I’m 36 pounds lighter and feel a lot better now and kick off the New Year with at least 45 minutes each day with cardio and strength training before the sun comes up. That didn’t come from a resolution, but a necessity for life.
After the midterm elections this year, I decided to refocus Blue Ridge Muse on its original premise when I started it in 2004: A hyperlocal news site that focuses on factual reporting on news affecting Southwestern Virginia.
That if the continued focus of this site on this New Year’s Eve and into 2019 and beyond. When I write opinion columns, which I do from time to time on a national political news website, they will go there, edited by others, before posting.
My one New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to do better: A better person, a better neighbor, a better friend and a better reporter.
Can I keep that resolution? Good question. I can, and will, try.
If I fail, the skeptics can gather and point out my shortcomings. That’s OK. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.
Thanks from Amy and I for who have become friends during our 14 years here in Floyd County, others who were friends during my time here from 1961-65 and those whose friendships we cherish from other parts of the country and the world.
At a time when society appears to be more bitter and more partisan, true friendship should be cherished.
Happy New Year. May we all celebrate 2019 and the years that follow.