Saturday, December 28, 2013

To Vow or Not To Vow - New Year's Resolutions

I wondered when this pernicious annual vow became a part of the holiday season so I looked it up.   The Babylonians promised their gods to return borrowed items and to pay off their debts and they did this in March.  The Romans came along and moved the rite to honor the god Janus thus our New Years.  After Christmas, in medieval times, the knights all re-vowed to pursue chivalry. 

Now I don't know about your neighborhood, but Babylonians, Romans and knights are sparse on the ground in ours. 

It's interesting that a consistent vow - basically just to be nicer - has lasted this long.  It has, of course, become modified to include such personal desires such as losing weight, getting more exercise, giving up sweets.  Wanting to improve yourself is admirable.  Even recognizing that you may have a problem is admirable.  

The trouble with noble resolve is that very few of us have the continuing drive to see any vow through to the end.  We may go to the gym every day for a week and then three times a week and then ... not at all.

And when realization of failure sets in, the person who made the vow is more depressed than when they rashly promised themselves wonderful things.  

I say it's better to avoid the inevitable disappointment down the road and simply think to your Personal Deity, "Work with me here on being a better person" and let it go at that.  It's better to give up without trying all that hard than it is to make yourself crazy - and fail anyhow.  Guard your mental health!  Vow NOT to vow! 

No comments: