SURRATT: Of the New Year and resolutions

Published 4:00 am Friday, December 30, 2022

Ah, here we are.

Another year has almost gone, the bowl games hitting the airwaves as an indicator that the college and professional football seasons are slowly coming to an end and gridiron junkies will have to start looking for substitutes to help them get through the seven or eight months before the pigskins begin flying again.

Come Saturday night, the neighborhood around my humble abode will erupt in a continuous assault of exploding fireworks and multiple bursts from firearms as people celebrate the arrival of 2023.

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

And with the arrival of 2023 comes the age-old rite of making resolutions — promises to improve ourselves; to change from that wreck you were in 2022 to the person you’ve always aspired to be. We swear to stop overeating; exercise more; better apply ourselves at work; to finally clean out that junk drawer or closet that delivers an avalanche every time the door is 0pened.

According to the website History.com, the ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year, although their year didn’t begin until mid-March when the crops were planted.

It was during a big 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, that the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king and promised the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. If the Babylonians kept to their word, their gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor — a place no one wanted to be.

Last year, I asked readers if they made their resolutions. This year, I wonder how many people kept the resolutions — those promises they made to themselves or to others to improve themselves or their behavior.

According to an article on the website Inc.com, studies show that people who set New Year’s goals don’t actually meet them. In fact, of the 41 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, only 9 percent were successful in keeping them.

That’s not a great record and it indicates that while we have our good intentions, the biblical passage that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” seems to hold true. None of us are good at keeping our resolutions, but we do it every year in hopes that maybe, maybe, this is the year we turn the corner and keep that promise we made while in a state of euphoria or under the influence of too many New Year’s toasts (which usually bring on the infamous “never again” resolution).

So here we are on the day before New Year’s Eve, thinking of turning a new leaf and looking for those summer clothes that were packed last week so we can be comfortable in 70-degree temperatures, waiting for 2023 and the mystery it holds. Enjoy the anticipation and have a happy New Year.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John