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December 28, 2014

The Shelf Life of New Year’s Resolutions

by Brendan

The topic of New Year’s resolutions has come up a couple of times lately, understandably since New Year’s is in 4 days.  In one of my A.A. meetings it came up, and my friend Hugh said something along the lines of, “A resolution for a whole year!?  I have to make a resolution every day.”

And on the last Friday Five (a set of 5 questions) sent to the Dead Runners’ Society listserv, the poster, Douglas Barry in Ireland, asked if anyone makes New Year’s resolutions, and if so, what?  Most of the respondents pretty much denigrated the notion of resolutions, in that they tend to dissipate much sooner than the year comes to an end.

I was speaking to friends David and John yesterday about this, and I told them I was going to post about the shelf life of New Year’s resolutions.  So I queried the Dead Runners’ Society list, and got responses so far from Charles, Cher, Lynn, JimP, and Martha.  All noted that it’s kinda hard to get any space in the gym right after New Year’s, since many have resoluted (resolved, I mean) to begin an exercise program or to be more faithful to their current exercise program.  So the gyms are full of new people.  (I’ll have to test that at my gym, Gainesville Health and Fitness Center,

Gainesville Health and Fitness Center

Gainesville Health and Fitness Center

on Friday or Saturday (January 2nd & 3rd).

But the new people, who made New Year’s resolutions to exercise, seem to drift away, and by spring it’s a lot easier to get space in the gym.

I’ll have to do an observation about whether or not the population of runners or cyclists seems up on Friday and Saturday as well — I plan a run each day.

I think it’s intuitively obvious that New Year’s resolutions are well-intended but don’t by any means end up observed 100%, all year.

But I’m interested enough to observe the numbers, continue to ask my Dead Runners Society friends about their experiences, and do a little research into the topic.  Perhaps the research will simply come my way in our local newspaper, on Slate.com, or on Buzzflash.com.  Surely the media will cover the phenomenon, as it does every year.

I wonder if the picture below was taken right around the new year?  As for me, I didn’t see greater numbers of runners in my neighborhood when I ran on New Year’s Day, January 2, and January 3 (today).  I did go to the gym yesterday (January 2), though, and at just a random observation it seemed to numbers were up.

A Crowd of Gainesville Health and Fitness Members

A Crowd of Gainesville Health and Fitness Members

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