05 January 2005

Fitter, happier, more productive...

Yeah, it's the opening words to that computer drone track Fitter Happier on Radiohead's OK Computer. But it also encapsulates the essence of the good ol' New Year's resolution.

Dieting, giving up smoking, being better organized, not procrastinating, taking up volunteering, yadayadayada. We all try to better ourselves, the world, or humanity in some way to start the new year out right....only to say, "Screw this!" somewhere around mid-February. The concept of the New Year's resolution has become a farce, the kind of thing too cliche for even TGIF (or whatever they call those family-oriented sitcoms on ABC).

Why is it that so many of us have such a hard time following through on our resolutions? Is it because we know from the get-go that the New Year's resolution is an empty promise? Does our constant breaking of this promise create a sense of mistrust toward ourselves...after all, wouldn't you start to get pissed off at a friend who keeps promising to call but never does? I guess if the resolutions we make aren't that consequential, we wouldn't be too disappointed at our recidivism...but then, what's the point of making a big hoopla out of New Year's Resolutions?
Lo and behold, NPR comes through once again with a discussion on this very topic that I was pondering! WBEZ Chicago's Odyssey (greatest NPR show ever) featured a stimulating conversation on 1.4.05 w/ two philosophers and the sublime host, Gretchen Helfrich on New Year's Resolutions. Here's a short description from the WBEZ Odyssey website:

They usually involve promising to better ourselves in some way, but most New Year's resolutions don't make it past the spring. Why do we make promises to ourselves that we can't—or won't—keep.

Quite apropos, don't you think? Check it out! And in case you're wondering, my resolution is to try to cut down on waste as much as possible (particulary plastic bags...they're non-biodegradable and EVIL!). So far, so good. I've gotten over the intial embarassment of bringing in an old Duane Reade (think NYC's Walgreens) bag to the store and saying to the cashier, "Um, I don't need a bag. I brought my own." Feel free to post a comment w/ your thoughts and/or your own resolutions.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's Susannah--I totally agree with the bag thing. It's okay; I recycle things like Lean Cuisine boxes. A big part of it was watching "The Corporation"--thanks to you!

BlandGrey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BlandGrey said...

Sound much like my own resolutions... and probably like half the country's. I think part of the problem maybe that the things we resolve to do/not do are the things that we have be doing/not doing for a while now, and are things that we can really live with, but don't like. You also might say that the easiest promises to break are the ones to yourself. Afterall, who's more understanding of your excuses than yourself.

-Brian

Elaine said...

One year a girl in my office resolved to start flossing every night, and I thought that was a good idea and so resolved the same. It's been going pretty well, but I think it's because it's a behavioral change that doesn't have an emotional component to it the way that dieting or quitting smoking does. I haven't really made any resolutions since. Good blog!

Melissa said...

Hey Steph! It's Melissa. How goes it? Good times by the looks of your blog. I am leaving this comment because I was so excited that I've met Gretchen from NPR! Haha, she's my stepmother's friend. Ok, that was lame...