Saturday, December 30, 2006

On Resolutions...

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...


  1. I am not into New Year's Resolutions either. I already resolved to exercise more, eat less, and work on myself. LOL

  2. I have grand hopes for 2007!

    and I like your new blog layout too, esp the green!

  3. What a wonderful post...thank you! I agree, the last paragraph is validating to me...I think any movement in the right direction of any endeavor is better than none and can only be to the good...

  4. Rissa - :) sounds like excellent plan!

    Debra - Well, the idea was suggested in the "Help Group" that changing the template enabled some to post their pictures. No such luck.

    Grand hopes that I hope will be realized and given your past performances - should be! Your list of goals is always impressive!

    Debby - Old Ben was a clever fellow. I'm going to try to concentrate on one thing at a time myself. Tranquillity and not being disturbed at trifles may be my first effort!

  5. Ben had a nice list. I also like the Nine Noble Virtues (from Poetic Edda among other places): Courage; Truth; Honor; Fidelity; Discipline; Hospitality; Industriousness; Self-reliance; and Perseverance.

  6. I'm afraid I've tripped over the very 1st line. "Temperence-eat not to dullness". The rest I have no problem with, until I get done to "order", my studio is a mess! I went down there to clean it yesterday, & started creating instead, now I can't see the surface of my table!Then it's hard to find "tranquility" when you have no "Order"! It's a good list though, & maybe I should print it out in LARGE print, & hang in my studio! Next to my Artist's Creed!
    Good thought s for the New Year!

    Have a Happy & Safe New Year!

  7. Kim - Yes, the Nine Noble Virtues are worthy of emulating. I guess most cultures end up valuing similar versions of essentially the same virtues. Notice that courage comes first, appropriate for the time period and Scandanavian history - and hospitality, as well.

    Deb H. - I'm gonna' have to work on that one as well, Deb! Maybe the New Year will bring restraint just because there will be less cooking and feasting.

  8. Happy New Year Jen! Virtues are something I think society has gotten away from, and as I look at this list, it looks like I have strayed on quite a few of them myself. I think I'm going to have to print this list as a reminder!


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