New Year’s Resolutions–To Bid Farewell to Scandal?

farewelltoscandalI was googling around to see if people during the Regency might have made New Year’s resolutions and found confirmation in a delightful post from The Snug Blog. The author found a 1792 etching “A Long String of Resolutions for a New Year – Design’d by G.M. Woodward” including satirical sketches of people making various resolutions including the one shown here.

I imagine they probably had a similar success rate to what people have now. Googling further, I found statistics saying that about 8-12% of those making New Year’s resolutions end up succeeding. Maybe it’s not so bad–at least those 8-12% made it, and for the rest, there’s always next year.

The problem is that starting a new calendar doesn’t mean I’ve left the baggage of the previous year behind. All the things that hindered me in the past may still be there. Any resolution that doesn’t take those things into account isn’t going to go far.

Also, if I feel the need for a change, I don’t want to wait until the New Year to start it. And if I backslide, I’m also not going to wait until the next year to start over. It’s only through setbacks and recoveries, by stringing together small successes day by day, that my larger goals have ever been met.

So I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions as such, although I do think it’s good to take time to reflect on how life is going and whether I’m living as authentic a life as I can.

The small steps I’ve been taking recently toward creative recovery include going to a coffee shop a few times a week to work on a new novella. I’m nearly done with the first draft and more importantly, I’m enjoying it.

Baby steps.

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? Have you made any? What helps you succeed?

Elena

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother’s Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency.

Her books have won the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club’s award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011.

When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.

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6 Responses to New Year’s Resolutions–To Bid Farewell to Scandal?

  1. Good job researching, Elena! I often wondered if the habit of making resolutions went back to our period or beyond. I’m with you, however, and don’t believe in them specifically for New Year’s –they should be made whenever needed! But the start of a new year does seem an appropriate time for taking stock, reflecting on the past year, and perhaps getting organized (or reorganized) for a productive year ahead. Happy New Year to you!

  2. ki pha says:

    It’s great to know that even back then they had resolutions, who knew? But as for me I don’t make one. I’ll never stick to it. But then, I do always set a goal to do something different, spontaneously or just out of the blue. It has worked so I’ll just keep that one.

    • Elena Greene says:

      That sounds like a fun goal, Ki Pha!

      In the same vein, my daughters and I like to cook together and on New Year’s eve we try new recipes. This year it was a Caribbean-inspired meal, shrimp with mojo sauce, black beans and rice, mango and avocado salad and pina coladas.

  3. diane says:

    I’m firmly in the New Year’s resolution camp! Even though I make the same ones every year (vbg)! The new year marks a starting point and psychologically having a starting point works for me.

    On the other hand, I also believe we can start over at any time; we can change at any time. All we need to do is decide to do it.

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