The 1828 Boston literary magazine, The Bower of Taste, edited by Katherine Augusta Ware, had this to say about New Year's resolutions:
We began the year just passed away with prospects full as flattering, with friends as kind, with health as good, and mind as free as now. We made resolutions at the commencement of the last year, which have, many of them, been long since forgotten. We complained then, that the year had been too short for the consummation of all our wishes, and formed plans which would, if carried into execution, have essentially bettered our condition; but we forgot that the next was to be as short as the one we had just passed, and that our resolutions were now no better than before.Guilty. I always seem to dream up far more than I can possibly do in a year when those twelve months are stretching out before me. Then again, I am a big believer in setting your sights high.
In 1895, R.G. Hazlett, General Secretary of the Good Templars of Toronto, exhorted all members of the society to be "more kind and patient and long-suffering with our Brothers and Sisters . . . even to those who are not as agreeable to us as some others."
Well said, Mr. Hazlett, especially the agreeable part.
My favorite piece of lore concerning New Year's, however, dates from 1893, when eighteen-year old M. Henry of South Wales won a prize from a London literary magazine for the following poem:
"The old year now is dead and gone
And as we watched him dying
How many keen regrets arose
To give us cause for sighing!
And so we say that we will treat
The year that's coming better
Good resolutions make--and mean
To keep them to the letter.
But soon, alas! we shall find out
The reason why we make them--
They're made on New Year's Day, because
There's all the year to break them!"
Whatever your plans for 2014, I wish you the very best in fulfilling them all!