Allan Takes Aim Blog

2012 is my year of no resolutions

Posted on: 12 January 2012


First published The Chronicle, Canberra, 10 January, 2012

Billions of people fall prey to Resolution Sickness, also known as making New Year Resolutions, the short term pandemic that strikes the world on January 1 every year. Because of its regularity this pandemic is now seen as more of tradition than a sickness although many a person affected by a resolution’s secondary effect will disagree about that particularly when their bankcard statements arrive.

Thankfully for most people, the sickness passes rapidly and normal life resumes. Unfortunately for a group of people who think the sickness has passed, it hasn’t; in fact it is merely lying dormant, waiting for the cue word that will trigger it into action later, not just on January 1 but on every day of the year. (More later about this group.)

The distinctive symptoms of this sickness are, that on January 1 every year, nearly every adult man and woman in the world feels compelled to make resolutions even though they know it unlikely they will ever keep them.

During my study of the pandemic and based on anecdotal evidence, the most common resolutions made by adult males in 2012 were: they would curb their drinking and smoking stop swearing in mixed company; never cheat on wife or girl friend; exercise more; and help around the house. As for women, they too resolved to drink less; smoke less; go on a diet; swear less; exercise more; stop spending so much on clothes; love their enemies; not gossip about their best friends; and, where applicable, stop cheating on their husbands.

Not wishing to be outdone and copying their adult role models, children made extravagant promises to be behave better, while teenagers and slightly older young adults promised to respect their elders. Far be it from me, an optimist by nature, to believe they do not intend to keep their resolutions but the fact is experience tells me such resolutions have as much chance of lasting as an ice block lying exposed to the full glare of the sun in the Simpson Desert in the height of summer.

Indeed many resolutions last no more than a minute, although when the temptation devil makes himself known, they last for hours, days or weeks; more rarely, they last for a year. But no matter how briefly or how long they last, people believe the benefit of the resolutions is that for a time they get a subconscious feeling of saintliness at having have donned the hair shirt of purity.

Now, if you make resolutions for reasons of tradition, what you may not know, is that you’re not following the idea of a much admired parent or grandparent but a long dead Babylonian. Indeed you can thank the Babylonians for the tradition of making and breaking resolutions on January 1, a tradition which, I have to say, has been practised assiduously not only by Babylonians but into the present millennium by other than Babylonians.

Finding out that the Babylonians were the creators of New Year resolutions was a huge shock to my system because, ever since I can remember, I believed making New Year resolutions was a Scottish tradition. That being the cases and being Scottish not Babylonian, seems to me like a good excuse for not making resolutions and a liar of myself, so I won’t.

But don’t let that put readers off making New Year resolutions: you may not know it but perhaps you’re a cousin 2000 times removed from a Babylonian and so I wouldn’t want you to break with what might be a family tradition.

As to the group of people I mentioned earlier in whom resolution sickness did not pass but lay dormant until being triggered many years later. No one quite knows what the trigger is. Some think ego is the trigger. I have to say this would not be an unreasonable conclusion to draw considering the people I’m talking about are politicians.

As for myself, hoping to make a good start to this year I haven’t made a resolution not to write about politicians but neither have I made a resolution to write about them either except to say that politicians are probably the world’s best resolution breakers.
dca@netspeed.com.au
The Chronicle, for Canberra’s best community news. Pubished every Tuesday

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112 Responses to "2012 is my year of no resolutions"

Winston Churchill said, “Political ability is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterward to explain why it didn’t happen.”

Charles de Gaulle was quoted in “Newsweek” in 1962, as having said, “Since a politician never believes what he says, he is surprised when others believe him.”

Nikita Krushchev remarked at Glen Cove, New York in 1960, “Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even when there’s no river.”

There’s no hope I’m afraid.

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