Kirby: Help with your New Year's resolutions

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Time to stop thinking about what you got for Christmas and start thinking about what you're going to get for the New Year besides a hangover.

In another 24 hours we'll have a brand new year, 365 days to accomplish something really cool or screw it up so bad that we can't wait for 2014.

No one knows when the first new year's resolution was made. Probably not until sometime after the concept of a year was invented. Makes sense if you think about it.

Historians agree that the year as we know it — the Julian year — was created by a guy named Julian. Actually it was Julius, as in Julius Caesar, the same guy who invented the salad.

Anyway, the Julian calendar first went into use about 45 years before Christ. Even so, many historians believe the first new year's resolution came from Christ's mandate for everyone to stop being jerks.

It doesn't come right out and say "new year's resolution" in the Bible. But because it was then technically possible to repent of one's old ways and thereby acquire a new start, it naturally followed that a new year was the perfect time to do so.

Note: I'm not advocating that you wait an entire year to repent of something, although that's what I do.

Never mind all of that. The thing to focus on right now is what kind of resolutions you're going to make for the new year.

There are five basic types of new year's resolutions (NYR) with corresponding chances for success. In no particular order there are:

Desperate NYR • These are resolutions you make because something truly horrible — death, divorce, prison, etc. — will happen if you don't. The chance of you following through on them depends almost entirely on how long the desperation remains in effect.

Fed-up NYR • If you're resolving to change because you're sick of feeling a certain way — fat, ignorant, unskilled, etc. — success is based entirely on what happens the next time you feel that way. For example, if you feel like nibbling and you eat an entire rack of lamb instead of a grape, you're probably going to fail.

Others NYR • Although an NYR is normally a personal commitment, it is possible to make NYRs for other people. Happens to me all the time. In fact, my wife has already resolved that I will not kill a harvestable ruminant with a golf ball in 2013. Chances of success: 0.004 percent.

Spiritual NYR • Some will try to become more spiritual during the next 365 days. They'll resolve to go to church more, study scriptures more and in general get closer to a faith in God. Watch out for these people. They can really mess with your own resolutions.

Financial NYR • The potential for success of a financially based NYR depends entirely on whether you actually have control of any money. I have not made one of these since I got married, which is why the ones my wife has made have been so successful

Unrealistic NYR • Try to use a little common sense in your resolution. I could resolve to become a Vegas showgirl in 2013 and it ain't gonna happen no matter how hard I try.

The secret to the success of any Jan. 1 resolution is the amount of commitment you bring to it. Right now it's easy to resolve if we haven't begun following through yet. It's still 2012.

The best judge of your chances for success will be the status of your resolve on Feb. 1, 2013.

Robert Kirby can be reached at or