A Harmless Annual Institution of No Use

Like many of you I hear the new year’s resolutions at every new year’s eve party. Very few people end up keeping those resolutions. Our resolve to lose weight, to work out more, to save more money, to do so many things we feel we need to do, falls victim to our lack of discipline and an easy retreat into settled habits.

It’s just pathetic.

In the January 1, 1863, edition of the Territorial Enterprise, the Virginia City, Nevada, newspaper that Mark Twain worked for, he wrote the following about the useless institution of new year’s eve resolutions:

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. To-day, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient short comings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.

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