100 Years of Resolutions

It’s that time of year again when many people sit back and reflect on goals to accomplish and habits to change. The New Year’s Eve countdown has ended, the confetti and poppers have been cleaned up, and nothing remains but to make the traditional New Year’s resolutions.

This practice of resolving to improve oneself has been around for decades, and thanks to the existence of newspapers we have the thoughts on resolutions from people across time to look back on. Today’s blog takes a gander at discussions on the tradition from the last century.

To start things off, a look at the first ten years of the 1900s.
Argument against New Year's resolutions discussed, 1908
The 1910s saw a surge in appeals to the dignity and honor of humankind (though the jokers were still around, of course):
Advice on Resolutions, 1910

The 1920s came around with a bit more cynicism for the custom::
Resolutions Debated Again, 1926
Writer Fannie Hurst on Resolutions, 1926
On to the 1930s:
Nina Wilcox Putnam on Resolutions, 1933
By now a common thread is shown—each decade had its fair share of people who thought New Year’s resolutions were basically useless. The 1940s were no exception:

Not much changed in the 50s. Other than a few articles here and there on the silly nature of women and wives, the arguments remained the same: either resolutions were good and noble of intent, or they were unnecessary and didn’t work.
Dr. John Nurnberger has seen little evidence of the effectiveness of resolutions, 1957
Argument for the New Year resolution as opposed to any day, 1957
Let’s move on to the 60s, where indifference and optimism do battle once again.
Resolutions display good intentions, Bill Marr, 1968
Make resolutions throughout the year, says Ray Cristine. 1969
The resolution to not make resolutions makes another big comeback in the 70s.
Rona Barrett delivers harsh opinion on New Year's Resolutions, 1971
Dorothy Propp one of many to doubt the lasting power of New Year's resolutions, 1979And what did people think in the 80s?
Morris West doesn't participate, but admires those who make resolutions. 1987
Resolutions do nothing more than make you feel a little better, says Jim Jupp. 1987
Thoughts on resolutions were much the same in the 1990s, with one noticeable difference: helpful articles on keeping resolutions became a lot more frequent:
A
90s brings about more advice on keeping resolutions. 1991And lastly, some resolutions and thoughts on the practice from the 2000s:
Resolving Not To Fail. 2003
Doesn't really matter much when you start,As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Seems New Year’s resolutions—and their naysayers—are likely to stick around for decades to come.

Find more like these with a search or browse on Newspapers.com. And let us know in the comments—what do you think of New Year’s resolutions?

Save

Save

Save

Save