Pandemic affects New Year’s resolutions
By Dr. Ginger Gabriel
Having survived a historical 2-1/2-year pandemic, it’s time to return to the time-honored tradition of creating New Year’s resolutions. The new year – 2023 – deserves at least one new resolution.
We learned a lot about ourselves in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Some of us found out that we aren’t self-starters. We need a classroom and a teacher to learn. Others discovered that creative solitude is what they were born for. Some organized their musical families to become instant stars on Zoom. Many finished college in record time online.
A number of our mountaintop young people felt the pandemic rip through them, change them and now realize that their hopes and dreams are different from what they were before face masks became a part of their lives.
When did people invent New Year’s resolutions? Archeologists discovered writings from 4,000 BC celebrating a new year in ancient Babylon. Some were resolutions made to their gods.
Historians are not able to read all that was written but are pretty sure that those did not include promises to exercise more, save more money or learn a new skill. Their loyalty belonged to the king to whom they promised to pay their debts. Maybe life was more simple then.
Modern times began in ancient Rome in 46 BC, when Julius Caesar introduced a new calendar and declared January 1 as “the start of the new year.”
New Year’s resolutions continued into the Middle Ages. Knights would make an annual “Peacock Vow” at the end of the year. That is how they renewed their vow to maintain the values of knighthood.
In 1671, Scottish writer Anne Halkett wrote her resolutions in her diary: “I will not offend anyone.” Nothing was written on the success of her resolution. Resolutions were common then.
In the 18th century, worshippers attended Mass. There is much written on the vows people made to improve their behavior with the belief that improved behavior might wipe away former faults.
Two centuries later, New Year’s resolutions are a common practice around the world from North American to Asia.
Years of research have concluded that of the 41 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions, only 9 percent follow through on a resolution and actually make a real-life change.
However, plenty of people seem to find areas in their lives they would like to improve. People seem willing to share those resolutions.
• Dirk: “Mine is probably ‘be selfless.’”
• Rhea-Frances: “I strive to stay happy.”
• Jo: “I will seek to free myself of guilt.”
• Nancy: “My goal is to stay alive.”
• Krystal: “This year has taught me to never give up. I have faced so many challenges. I faced them with courage. I know I will survive whatever is coming next!”
• Niki: “My resolution is to finish all the craft projects from 2022 that I should have done in 2021, since I started them in 2020 after buying the supplies for them in 2019.”
• Shelly: “This year I plan to collect less ‘stuff’ and go on more adventures.”
Only Angelica seemed negative, “Resolutions are like making promises you don’t keep.”
I talked with Jon and Sara Johnson, Rim High School graduates, local mountain kids who have determined to make a difference in the world. Jon is a military veteran and an elder at Twin Peaks Community Church. Sara is an educator. John’s job was to oversee missionaries the church sponsors. Jon’s family is a tight unit so he took the family with him on these travels. After spending some time in Central America at the Guatemala Deaf Ministry, Jon and Sara looked at each other and said, “I think God is calling us to come here and make a difference.”
This is how a New Year’s resolution should be made. This is the kind that probably won’t fail. Their resolution: “to follow wherever God leads us.” They are in training in Colorado now and will be making Guatemala their home in a few months.
Here are two sources that may help you be in the 9 percent who accomplish a New Year’s resolution:
Tony Robbins is offering a free seminar/challenge, “Become Unshakeable.com,” from Jan. 24 to 28 around noon on TV, YouTube and Facebook. If free works for you, try going online to sign up for this conference that you attend in your own home. I will be attending and I will be taking notes. These seminars usually cost lots of money and require travel to get there. You likely will learn how to handle life’s curves with more confidence.
Brene Brown’s podcasts have a lot to say about humans being resistant to change. Resolutions are about change. Change can be stressful but can lead to a better life.
As we all share this human experience, we can help each other or we can resist that help.
For seniors over 60, help can be found at the Crest Forest Senior Citizen’s Center. Call (909) 338-5036.
A thoughtful New Year’s resolution is not “made to be broken.” A good New Year’s resolution can bring encouragement and success.
What is one resolution you have made for 2023 that you would be willing to share with the readers of The Alpine Mountaineer?