Monday, January 4, 2010

Rant: New Year's Resolutions Are Selfish!

From Thanksgiving through the end of December, the holidays emphasize togetherness, spending time with friends and family. We sit down at the table, savoring food and drink, with our loved ones. We are in a charitable mood, giving to help the less fortunate. We look outward from ourselves, caring more about the others in our lives. This is one of my favorite aspects of the holidays, and it is an aspect which should be extended through the entire year. It is not something that should be limited to the holiday season.

Yet as soon as New Year's Day arrives, many people forget all of that. That sense of togetherness gets discarded. People start looking inward, starting with their New Year's Resolution. Those resolutions are usually individual changes, which only affect that person. They are often selfish desires and concerns for family, friends and others are pushed to the wayside. That cheery holiday spirit from November and December vanishes, to be replaced with a gloomier look at individual faults.

So why do we start the New Year thinking only about ourselves? That is not a proper pathway to maintain the community spirit we held the previous month. It does not promote a charitable spirit. We should be resolving to maintaining the feelings we cherished in December. We should resolve to maintain that same feeling of togetherness we recently held. There is no reason for selfishness.

There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to better ourselves but do we really need to make it a special resolution? Especially as it seems such resolutions often do not last more than a couple months anyways. Instead, don't start the New Year thinking about yourself. Start it by thinking about others, and then you can also worry about your own imperfections. Continue to act as you did in November and December, and don't change just because January begins.

Rather than worrying about a new diet, share a meal with friends and family. In the end, your family and friends are worth far more than a few extra pounds. If you are going to diet though, then do so with someone else. A joint effort has been shown to be more successful than an individual effort. In fact, almost any individual resolution will be far more successful if you are doing it with someone else.

I will work on my own faults and flaws in 2010, but primary in my mind will be maintaining that spirit of togetherness from the holidays. I won't make any individual resolutions as I see no need. I will share my food and wine with friends and family, and give to those in need. I will try not to be selfish.


The Wine Whore said...

I totally agree!

NY resolutions are selfish, worthless, and stupid! :)

I like your idea of continuing the community spirit instead!


drinknectar said...

I am one of those guys who makes goals each year. I like to look back at the end of the year and see how many of them I accomplished. Sometimes that go under the heading as resolution, but usually those are just for fun - like one year it was drink more coffee.

This year is drink a better variety of wine.

Some people go overboard with the whole thing though. A very interesting observation about moving from such connection and togetherness to BAM being self centered again.

Josh @nectarwine

winehiker said...

I hereby resolve to host more dinner parties!

Jacqueline Church said...

I like the idea of resolutions with community-building goals or if self-focused, at least measurable. It's fruitless to say "I resolve to eat better." And, not being able to track or measure progress against a goal is a sure way to kill it. Why not say: "I resolve to include one new grain in my menu rotation by March." Then you could add making dinner for friends featuring the grains you're trying out.

Here's a little help to get the ball rolling Dried cherry, bacon, farro with roast chicken. A little bacon never hurts!

weeklywinejournal said...

I resolve to be less selfish

Ben Simons said...

Good points. I can certainly understand the appeal of resolutions. The whole idea of a fresh start is very appealing. I think that there is a season for everything, and having a set time for reflection isn't a bad thing. Still, I think that most people are generally pretty self absorbed, so your encouragement to think outside of ourselves during this time is well taken.

I think that balance is the key. It's good to take stock of the last year and make goals for the upcoming one, but we should definitely spread out the community spirit that we celebrate during the holidays. The world would certainly be a better place if more people did.

MC Slim JB said...

In my recent On the Cheap column for The Boston Phoenix, I tried to come up with New Year's resolutions for diners that emphasize being a better citizen of the community, the restaurant/bar scene, the food chain, and the world. They're not all altruistic, but see what you think:

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks Randy!

Thanks to you Josh too. I think it is good to have personal goals, as long as we don't lose that sense of togetherness and community.

Russ, that is a good resolution, and I wish you much luck in accomplishing it.

Thanks Jackie for your comments and recipe. I certainly agree that a little bacon never hurts. A lot of bacon can sometimes be pretty good too.

Weekly, that too is another good resolution. Best wishes on following it!

Ben, I certainly agree with your comments. Balance is very important, and it would be harmful to veer too much to either extreme.

MC, I did see your resolutions before, and I think plenty of them are in the spirit of my rant. It is a good list for all who enjoy food & drink to read.

Lindsay H. said...

What if their NY resolution was to act less selfishly?
I guess it's sort of silly to say, but maybe the point of a NY resolution is to turn selfish enough to become a better person - which will ultimately result in less selfishness. Right?

Jen said...

My New Year's resolutions might be individualistic, but it's in bettering myself that I'm able to better my community. If everyone resolved to improve one thing about him/herself (whether it's to lose weight, quit smoking, or save money), society as a whole would see an increase in health and happiness, methinks.

Richard Auffrey said...

It is my opinion that it would be better overall for the community if your resolutions were not so individualistic. Or at least that you engaged in a joint effort with others towards your resolution, as such resolutions are often more effective if done with someone else.

If you wanted to lose weight, quit smoking or such, then try to do so with at least one other person, and more if possible. United, you can offer each other support and motivation, more than you would have alone. And united, you all stand a better chance of success.

joy said...

Hi, just passing by your site to see something that will interest me and luckily you impressed me with your great article and I have a great time reading everything that is written. I'm looking forward to see more of your write-ups. If you have time you can also visit my site which indicated below.

Leslie Lim said...

I read your blog.I thought it was great.. Hope you have a great day. God bless.