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.