New Year’s resolutions are a challenge to keep, suffering often from vagueness (“Be a better friend this year.”), or delusions of grandeur (“Author, edit, and publish that novel!”). Even the best intentioned, most reasonable of goals (“Lose 10 pounds before March.”) often fail a few weeks into January. We give ourselves all the tips and tricks, the motivational pep talk, and the reasonable doubt and still we just can’t seem to keep up that resolve. But isn’t it nice to know that we aren’t alone? Historically speaking, most New Year’s resolutions have flopped, and here are a few we can only assume weren’t kept.
999 BCE, King David: “This year, I’m going to get over Bathsheba; she’s not worth the drama.”
218 BCE, Hannibal: “Find a way to employ elephants in war tactics.”
39 CE, Caligula: “Focus on finding intelligent, personable men to fill the role of Consul.”
1349 CE, ~9M Europeans: “Do NOT catch the Black Death.”
1515 CE, Henry the VIII: “Start marriage counselling with Catherine.”
1812 CE, Napoleon Bonaparte: “Beat Russia in a land war.”
1865 CE, Abraham Lincoln: “This year, I’d like to take in some culture and promote the arts.”
1892 CE, Lizzie Borden: “Really work on relationship with Mom and Dad.”
1914 CE, Grigori Rasputin: “I’d like to hone my business professionalism. Sometimes I feel like I’m mixing work and personal pleasure too much.”
1931 CE, Al Capone: “Pay those taxes!”
1934 CE, Marie Curie: “Take time to stop and smell the roses. Don’t kill yourself with work.”
1943 CE, Dr. Josef Mengele: “Really branch out in the medical field; get away from this weird obsession with twins.”
So, when plotting your New Year’s resolution, remember: it is equally possible you will be remembered for NOT fulfilling your resolution as for fulfilling it. No pressure.