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[Opinion] New Year’s Resolutions

Posted December. 31, 2005 06:17,   


Are New Year’s resolutions economical or not? If you are not good at keeping promises, you might be better off not making any resolutions.

According to the New York Times, Professor Thomas Schelling at the University of Maryland, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his game-theory analysis, argues that people should make New Year’s resolutions for the same un-economical reasons. As a conflict-theory expert, he emphasizes taking the initiative. Suppose two countries are in conflict with each other. The country which burned its boats behind it, making retreat impossible, is more likely to win. Everyone has two selves: that says “just go on a diet,” and the other that says “just go on.” If a person includes losing some pounds into his or her New Year’s resolutions, the cost of remaining overweight will jump, making you more desperate to lose weight.

That no body keeps New Year’s resolutions is a wrongly fixed idea that needs correction. In June of last year, LG CNS, an IT service provider, carried out a poll to check whether people live up to their resolutions. As many as 69.3 percent of respondents gave themselves more than 50 points (out of 100). Typical New Year’s resolutions are exercise and self-improvement. The survey result proves that those with New Year’s resolutions are at least half a step ahead those without resolutions.

Gu Sang, a poet, wrote, “One can make a fresh start on any day.” To grasp his real message, the reader has to read more than the first line, which is followed by: “Only when you are righteous can you make a fresh start.”

New Year’s resolutions do not necessarily have to be big. According to Auction’s survey, tops on their list of resolutions for 2006 are: to quit smoking (40 percent) and to lose weight (60 percent) for Korean men and women, respectively.

Mygoal.com carries out an annual survey to find out what Americans wish for at the start of the year. The website says that the most common wish (31 percent) is about health issues such as weight and smoking. If a set of resolutions is followed by a concrete schedule to renew determination, more goals would be achieved.

President Roh Moo-hyun let his New Year’s goals be known through his New Year’s message. He said, “I will concentrate my efforts on improving the economic conditions for average Koreans.” Some used to complain that the president’s remarks have been rather confusing. But that confusion is now behind us. It is my wish that the president keeps his resolution. I wish you all a happy New Year.

Kim Sun-duck, Editorial Writer, yuri@donga.com