by CAROLYN VENTER
The origin of the New Year’s resolution was during Babylonian times when people would promise their gods that by the end of the year they would return sacred objects that they had borrowed. The Romans also made wonky promises to their god, Janus, and during medieval times Knights would take the ‘peacock vow’ just after Christmas in order to solidify their commitment to chivalry. I got all of this from the Wikipedia page. (I recently found out these articles are supposed to be between 500 and 1000 words, not the 300 I’ve been writing, so be prepared for a lot of citations and sources). Wikipedia also defines a New Year’s Resolution as “a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior.” Now that everyone knows I have no idea how to write an article, let’s examine some common new year’s resolutions.
After polling the VERY large sample size of Augustana students that are my Facebook friends, some resolutions were as expected; to go to the gym more frequently or get a well paying job. For our purposes, let’s call these people ‘basic’. Next, a whopping four people claimed that their new year’s resolutions were simply to survive, follow their schedule, make their bed and “maintain,” whatever that last one means. I will refer to these people as the ‘realists’*. Lastly, we have what I like to describe as ‘outliers’, people who have odd and specific goals like buying a maine coon cat.
Although I’m pretty much relying on the word of like eight people here, these three distinct separations in types of goals are reflective of the extent to which social values have been internalized by each individual. Wanting to be thin and make money doesn’t really sound like it was your idea, it sounds to me like it was society’s idea. Not that I’m shitting on being thin or having money. I was thin in the ninth grade and I’m sure if it hadn’t been for Velcro shoes and an incident with a water fountain, I would have been very cool. All I’m asking is that if you are a ‘basic’ you should sit down and think about why it is you want a well paying job. Is it so you’ll be able to feed yourself? Because, fair enough, you got me there.
Then you have the ‘realists’ who I would argue are very aware of the crushing weight of society’s expectations and either make their sole goal “surviving life” or choose small goals that allow them to feel like they are in control. Keep in mind I can’t prove any of this.
Lastly, you have the delightful ‘outlier’, Micky Sutherland, who just wants to own a damn maine coon cat. The ‘outlier’ new year’s resolutions I would argue are the most successful because they are oddly specific and not really contingent on being well integrated into society. Micky stated that her reason for wanting a maine coon cat was probably to kick off her career as a crazy cat lady. From that statement, we can infer that Micky is rejecting societal expectations of only being a crazy cat lady at like 50. Micky knows who she is. Be more like Micky.
According to the Wikipedia page, most people fail at their new year’s resolutions because they set unrealistic goals (35%), don’t keep track of their progress (33%), or my favourite, they simply forgot they made them (23%). In conclusion, most people fail at new year’s resolutions because new year’s resolutions are dumb and a means of bourgeois propaganda. If I had to make a new year’s resolution, it would be to try and keep my personal bias out of the Dag. Let’s hope I beat the odds.
*fun fact, in an attempt to make a topical reference I looked up which rapper says “I’m the realist” in his music and the search gave me 15 pages of rap artists I had never heard of that all use the phrase “I’m the realist”.