Friday, January 6, 2023

Andy Young: One solution to making resolutions

By Andy Young

So, what exactly is the big deal about making New Year’s resolutions? Sure, it’s a tradition, but so is Groundhog Day, and most people living anywhere besides Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania would probably agree that life would be just fine without that.

At least Groundhog Day is harmless. Several other silly but traditional holidays were created for no reason other than greed. Exhibit A is “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving when Americans (and presumably foreign consumers as well) are urged to get out early in the a.m. so they can be first in line to get $5 off the purchase price of items like pasta makers, juicers, or the latest version of the iPhone, the one that’s destined to be rendered obsolete in six months or less by the next iteration of the iPhone.

And if that isn’t bad enough, “Black Friday” has spawned “Cyber Monday,” another crass effort to separate consumers from their dollars, euros, shekels, rubles, yen, or any other form of currency besides Bitcoin.

There’s another needless “traditional” holiday that’s powered by both avarice and sappy sentimentality but writing the unvarnished truth about Valentine’s Day generally gets a freelance columnist more hate mail than an essay proposing putting Osama bin Laden on a postage stamp.

One contemporary New Year’s resolution that’s popular in America is vowing to exercise more regularly and eat more selectively. Meticulous internet research reveals that 59 percent of Americans make these particular resolutions according to

But reports that number to be 91 percent, and has the figure at 95 percent. I cannot verify which (if any) of these figures is correct.

However, according to, 96 percent of those vowing to exercise regularly and lose weight observe Martin Luther King Day by putting extra cheese on their nachos, and 98 percent have dropped off their Fitbits and/or Pelotons and/or treadmills with Goodwill prior to the 4th of July, assuming they haven’t already offloaded them at a yard sale by then.

These bogus “holidays” aren’t the only established practices that need to go. Having the president pardon a turkey or two right before Thanksgiving is idiotic as well, particularly given that reprieved birds only live another couple of years at most.

Interestingly, on Nov. 19, 1963, America’s Commander-in-Chief magnanimously spared the 55-pound bird that had been delivered to him with the words, “Let’s let this one grow.” Ironically, that particular exonerated fowl lasted a lot longer than his pardoner did since three days later President Kennedy was shot and killed on a visit to Dallas, Texas.

It's understandable and admirable that thoughtful, well-adjusted people should constantly strive to improve, but why the pressure to announce one’s determination to do so on New Year’s Day?

What would be the harm in, on an utterly random date, quietly and without fanfare vowing to eliminate certain unattractive traits, or redoubling one’s efforts to excel in areas where they are already competent?

I think it would be more appropriate to make resolutions when the resolver has the motivation to follow through on whatever it is he or she vows, like when they’re starting a new job, committing to a new relationship, or meeting with a probation officer right after getting released from prison.

I would love to resolve to resist peer pressure and not make any resolutions at all this year, and if I could, I would. But unfortunately, by making that declaration I’d be breaking my own resolution. So, what’s a thoughtful, reflective person (but reluctant resolution-maker) to do?


I resolve not to publicly endorse putting Osama bin Laden on a postage stamp. <

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