I love New Year’s resolutions.
After a week of gorging on ham, turkey, pies, and M&M’s, I enjoy lounging on the sofa thinking of well-intentioned folks squeezing into nylon shorts and duck-walking to the gym. Or I imagine them feverishly signing up for cooking classes, or arranging stacks of self-help books, or taking up the trombone, or installing Rosetta Stone. “Learn Italian at your own pace!”
And yet, I know most of these efforts are as doomed as a minor character inGame of Thrones. According to the website Statistic Brain, 38 percent of Americans never make such a resolution and among those who do, only 8 percent have success. I think the odds might have been slightly better for Martin O’Malley becoming President.
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The most common goal is losing weight. I have a lot of sympathy for people who try. I run all the time and certainly it helps my general health and heaviness, but when my running route takes me pass a Popeye’s or Krispy Kreme? Yeah, it’s tough to keep going. So I know it’s hard for a newbie.
I suspect the failure rate is pretty high across the board, whether someone vows to learn piano, read the Bible, bathe the dog more often, start meditating, pick up their socks, or figure out the iCloud.
So why do we keep trying? I suppose it is because we all want to believe that if we can recognize our shortcomings, we can marshal our strength and beat them into submission…emerging healthier, wealthier and wiser.
This is the same reason we vote. Because we want to think we can make life better if only we chose well. Will that prove true in the coming year? After our bruising, divisive election it’s hard to say. But I admire all those sweaty souls I will soon see puffing down the sidewalks awkwardly chasing their dreams, and I admire those voters — left, right and center — who still think it’s worthwhile trying for a more perfect union year after year.
(Tom Foreman is the host ofAll the Best/All the Worst 2016this week on CNN)