Where did this tradition of making resolutions at the new year come from? Frankly, I haven't a clue, other than the link with new beginnings, but it's very hard to escape it. Perhaps the reason so many resolutions are broken before the end of January is because they are half-hearted to begin with, made for form's sake rather than a true desire for change.
I'm not going to suggest what promises anyone should make themselves, and if you're heartily sick of being asked what your New Year's resolutions are, I wouldn't blame you if you put your fingers in your ears and sang 'La...la...la...' However, if you can bear it, you can put the tradition to good use.
Non-fiction writers can use it as a basis for features on how the tradition began, the most popular resolutions, how long most last, the most unusual ones etc.. You could use it as the theme of essays or memoirs based on your personal experiences of making or breaking resolutions. If you kept them, did it have the desired results? What changed? Did other people see you in a new light?
Of course, fiction writers can use all of the above too. Or you could start with some unintended consequences of a resolution or how a character's resolve is tested. I'm sure you can find plenty more ideas, and they don't all have to be grounded in contemporary society. They can be historical, science fiction, fantasy–there are no limits. If you do base your work on New Year, you'll be in good time for all 2019's themed anthologies and magazines, instead of having to rush around trying to write something in June (most publications work on issues months ahead).
As for me, I have two resolutions. The first is to try to turn negatives into opportunities. Hopefully, I won't have too many of them to practise on. I'm also aiming to catch up on all the projects I haven't finished, or in some cases, started. I doubt it's a goal I'll achieve, but I'll certainly get closer than I would if I didn't try. It will also be another year before I have to admit that I've failed.
Wishing everyone a happy and productive 2019.


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