While I have never had much success with New Year's Resolutions, and usually say that I won't even bother to make them again, this time of year simply demands the kind of thinking that leads to resolutions, whether or not they will ever come to fruition. In quiet moments, my mind wanders to the New Year and the idea of a clean slate, the freshness of a year as yet unsullied by mistakes, failures, misunderstandings, neglect, and omissions.
It is a time that spurs thoughts of goals and aspirations. Some concrete, some abstract. The idea of changing habits - a difficult concept at any time, seems more achievable with the advent of a New Year. Of course, "it ain't necessarily so," since changing habits is never an easy endeavor, but with the idea of a calendar of days waiting to be created, I guess anything seems possible.
The trick, perhaps, is not to go overboard.
I'm reviewing Benjamin Franklin's list and his methods. Here are his Virtues:
TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I judg'd it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone thro' the thirteen...
Here is a link to the entire essay and my favorite paragraph is the last one.
I've chosen a few of the 13 to give special attention to...