Over the next few days, millions of people from all around the world will make promises to themselves about things they'll do (or not do) in 2011. Some folks will aim to lose weight (I plan to shed a few holiday pounds my own self). Some will resolve to give up smoking, or drinking, or gambling or all three. Some will vow to cut back on the amount of time they spend in front of the telly, or to spend more time with their loved ones. You name it, chances are that somewhere, someone is making a New Year's resolution to either do it or stop doing it.
But do any of these promises actually help? Do people ever keep them?
If you ask me, I'd say it depends on why those resolutions are made. Like most things we promise ourselves, if we only do it because we feel we ought to, or because someone says we should, I suspect out chances of success are slim. On the other hand, if it's something we really think is important, it'll happen (or not happen, depending on whether we're looking to achieve an objective or give something up).
Twenty years ago this Friday, I made a resolution to give up alcohol. I wasn't quite at the 'one drink is too much and not enough stage' but I had a problem. With the exception of asking Senior Management to marry me, it's far and away the smartest decision I ever made. Aside from the occasional glass of Baileys every year or so, I've kept that promise to myself, and quite frankly, I'm a better man for it.
Mind you, on the other hand, I've made dozens, possibly hundreds of other New Year resolutions before and after, none of which I kept to for more than a few months.
Does a failed resolution help or hinder you in the long run? I don't know, but if the only resolution I ever keep is the 'No more drinking' one I made back in 1990, I'll continue to think they're a great idea.
How about you?
What's your take on New Year's Resolutions?