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New Year’s Resolutions

January 8, 2008

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I know that I’m a week late, but after rattling this around in my brain all week, I finally decided to write about it. Them. My New Year’s Resolutions.I’ve never really believed in setting New Year’s resolutions. If I want to change something or set a goal, why is the arbitrary date that we get new calendars on necessary? If something is important enough to aim for, then surely it’s important enough to start now, not wait until Jan 1st. That seems like just another way to procrastinate. Besides, New Year’s resolutions are made for breaking, aren’t they? These are all arguments that I have made before, and that my partner adheres to. After all, Americans make the same resolutions year after year, it they were meeting their goals surely they would stop resolving to address them.

This is the first year that I’ve really identified as atheist. This is the first year that I haven’t had the reassurance of any comforting and solemn rituals or ceremonies. I miss those, and I don’t think that’s a failing. In the past, if I had made my mind up about something, or had decided to make a major change, I could pray about it and feel that, in some way, I had formalized my decision. Without the benefit of a God or Gods to formalize my goals, my goals just don’t seems to have the same, I don’t know, weight. I like the idea of New Year’s resolutions because it adds that element of ritual. I’m not promising God, I’m just promising myself, but it helps to have things down in writing.

Over at About.com, they have posted a list called Have a Godless New Year: Atheist New Year’s Resolutions. Having an appropriately godless new year involves:

  1. Skepticism and critical thinking
  2. Self-reflection and introspection
  3. Reading, study, and learning
  4. Openness and honesty
  5. Engagement and discussion
  6. Political activism
  7. Equality and civil rights
  8. Separating church and state for religious liberty

I would argue that most of those are just principles for being a good person and living a full life. My resolutions are somewhat more personal, and don’t have anything to do with atheism. In no order except the order they came to mind:

  1. Lose weight. I know everyone says this, but I’ve got a plan with specific goals and strategies. What are they? None of your business, this isn’t a weight-loss blog
  2. Stop biting my nails
  3. Write my conceptual framework chapter by May, and my lit review by June
  4. Finish my data collection and analysis by the end of December
  5. Buy a car and make the minimum payment + 20% each month
  6. Get my driver’s license
  7. Get my visa paid off
  8. Something personal
  9. Choose a local association/charity and volunteer once a week. I think I’ll look into the food bank
  10. Write at least one substantive post per week, and one or two shorter ones
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