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By Sheila Zanghi
contributing writer 

How are those resolutions working for you?

 

January 20, 2024

Sheila Zanghi.

Those well thought out New Year's resolutions will have more than likely fallen by the wayside by now and are now only distant memories. I blame it on our collective seasonal amnesia. Resolution amnesia prevents us from putting too much pressure on our psyche. Do not fret, only 3 to 4 % of resolutions are faithfully adhered to. I believe that it may be an unrealistically high percentage as we tend to be overly optimistic.

What is interesting is that cuneiform tablets dating from Babylonia 4,000 years ago have lists of New Year's resolutions. These ancient people celebrated a 12-day festival called Akitu at the beginning of the planting season. Their new year started in March. At that time, they made resolutions. They did not say what their resolutions were, but it seems most of them had to do with wishes for future crops or promises to landowners regarding how their debts would be resolved. I would think theirs were more about surviving on a basic level than our resolutions.

I thought resolutions were such a natural way of organizing life that I am certain it predates calendars. The ancient calendars had a stated starting point as well as an ending point. Resolutions had to be declared by a date the entire population was aware of. But what about the humans living in Upper Paleolithic time, what were they thinking? Some 40,000 years ago, these humans produced art. We have yet to determine why, what was their motivation? Were these depictions of actual events or were resolutions for future events? Suppose you are spending a winter in a draughty cold and damp cave. Wouldn't your thoughts be on how to improve the conditions for next winter or even think about finding a cave in a better climate? More efficient hunting meant more meat and furs to help survive. Did the cave paintings depict actual events or was it a hunt they aspired to? Was it used to train new hunters in strategy on how to attack their prey and have safer and better outcomes? They would use the long winter to plan their activities for when the weather allowed. They were developing a "game" plan – a resolution?

If you are still honoring your resolutions, kudos to you. But if you are like the 96-97% of us, start preparing for next year. Years ago, I solved my own angst about this yearly ordeal and decided to commit to easy resolutions. My promises to myself consist of promising to give up things I have never done, like drink and smoke. I never promise to do things that are hard, like exercise or organize. I do promise to drink coffee, watch TV, eat chocolate and never buy an extended warranty. My ability to follow my resolutions has made my life a little less stressful.

Have a great 2024, everyone!

 
 

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