This I Have Learned: New Year’s Resolutions!

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Okay—raise your hand if you made resolutions for the new year. Ah, I see that about 50% of you have. For those of you who have, you might not enjoy this article, and for those of you who haven’t, you will enjoy this article even less. To wit…

The habit of making New Year’s resolutions had its beginning about 4,000 years ago when the ancient Babylonians started the tradition. However, for the Babylonians, the year started in mid-March, when their crops were planted. So, for resolution-makers, you are in good company.

But, the despot emperor Julius Caesar wanted to reform his minions, and so he changed the calendar year to start on Jan. 1. Nice change. Unfortunately, Caesar is better remembered for his salad namesake these days.

Making a resolution is easy to do. Keeping a resolution is not. Not having more than one glass of wine an evening comes to mind. But I digress.

Making a resolution is like making a promise to yourself, which is nice if you have trust in your ability to hold firm to the promise. In 2015, the website The Bubble listed some (potential) resolutions that were made by historical figures who should have made and then followed through on them:

Napoleon Bonaparte: Check the weather forecast before booking a trip to Russia.

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia: Make sure Rasputin’s employment references and home remedy claims are legit.

Achilles: Find a new shoemaker; leather cut-out sandals aren’t going to work.

Richard Nixon: Remember, wire-tapping never did anyone any harm.

Marie Antoinette: No more cake! Switch to a gluten-free diet, an Atkins diet, or a Paleo diet.

Abraham Lincoln: Ask Daniel Day-Lewis how he did it.

But joking aside, the specialists at the Mayo Clinic indicate that most of us want to make resolutions around our health. They suggest using the SMART acronym when setting resolution goals:

* Specific: What am I going to do?

* Measurable: How will I track my progress?

* Achievable: What steps will I take to make this happen?

* Relevant: Is this important enough to me to want to do it?

* Timeframe: When will I do this?

But far be it from me to give advice on the subject because right now I am grappling with my own resolutions of:

* Making sure that I am in the same room as my husband when I talk to him or ask a question of him.

* Remembering to check my pantry prior to going shopping to avoid duplicates of everything!

This I will try to learn this year!