They rarely seem to work, though I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because the promises are often made under the influence of alcohol or the stress of the holidays. It could also have something to do with the relatively short time span that a year offers to really do something meaningful in the middle of all the other commitments you've already racked up. Plus, you can always just dodge--resolving to do it next year if you drop the ball this time around.
Maybe people just stink at change.
In any case, I'm not a big fan.
I am, however, a huge believer in something that I'm terming Lifetime Resolutions. Here is my definition:
Lifetime Resolutions are the handful of long-term goals you must accomplish during your lifetime for your life to have been successful in your own eyes.
Now that's realistic. It gives you a long enough time to really do something, and establishes the only standard that you really can appreciate. Plus, it puts into perspective that if you let this deadline slip, there won't be another one. (At least, not without some form of reincarnation)
Recent events have gotten me thinking about this more seriously than before.
So I'm building a formal list of Lifetime Resolutions. This is a big deal. Bigger than I expected when I began toying with the idea. After all, if I'm going to dedicate myself to a lifetime of something, I want to say that I thought it through first.
In fact, it turns out that some of my "goals" weren't really even that important to me, while others, which always seemed to be put on the back burner, actually matter a lot when I force myself to take an honest look at them. So, I'm rearranging some of my priorities. I'm making my list, and in the process, I'm learning a few things about what really matters to me.
Try it. You might surprise yourself with what you discover about yourself. I did.