Are New Year's resolutions really worth it?
Some say yes, some say absolutely not. In a random survey of Tri-Citians by the Herald, most people said the tradition should be revamped to be more productive.
Terry Bouslaugh of West Richland said she has never made a resolution for New Year's for good reason.
"I never make them because I know I can't keep them," she said with a smirk.
Never miss a local story.
Her sister, Judy King of Washougal, believes New Year's resolutions aren't worth the disappointment when those promises you make to yourself are broken, she said.
"You set yourself up for disappointment when you commit to not doing something then end up doing it anyway," King said.
Both sisters said the whole resolution thing is senseless, and they wonder why generations of people keep the tradition alive.
Mary Anne Smith-Fewell, of Richland, does make New Year's resolutions but she doesn't set herself up to fail, she said.
"How it works for me is I tell myself I will do more of something rather than I won't do something," Smith-Fewell said. "It's good to take a look at your life and see where you can be better. And if it takes the traditional way of doing that by making a New Year's resolution, then I suppose it's a good idea."
Whether you believe in resolutions or not, King figures the best way to approach the beginning of a new year should be the same as each day of the year.
"I'm overweight and as broke as the next person but I'm not going to beat myself up and be miserable all year long because of it," King said. "It's important to be happy and make it a priority to make better decisions, like eating healthier and being a good person."
Liz Williams of Portland, shopping at a local store, said she likes the tradition of making New Year's resolutions. Some have worked and some have not.
"I always make a resolution each New Year's but I'm ashamed to say I don't always stick with them," she said. "And sometimes they do, like when I quit smoking 20 years ago after making that resolution. Can't complain about that."
The earliest recorded history of New Year's celebrations began in ancient Babylon about 4,000 years ago, according to the History website at www.history.com/topics/new-years.
But those Babylonians were celebrating more the coming of spring than the beginning of a new year, because it happened when the first new moon arrived after the vernal equinox -- the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness, the website said.
Julius Caesar instituted Jan. 1 as the first day of the calendar year in about 64 B.C. when he changed to the Julian calendar. The old Roman calendar consisted of 10 months and 304 days each year, the website said.
It is believed that the practice of making resolutions for the new year first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot, such as promising to pay off debts and return borrowed farm equipment, the website said.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal