Posted by Harry Hertz, the Baldrige Cheermudgeon
Like many other people, I make at least one resolution every New Year. But, have you ever wondered about the origin of New Year’s resolutions. I was, as I thought about what I might offer up for the coming year. As best I can tell from some quick research, the concept goes back to early Roman times when Janus was placed at the head of the calendar (hence the name January). Janus was the Roman god of beginnings and endings with two faces, one looking back (at the past year) and one looking forward (to the new year). It was believed, at the stroke of midnight Janus looked in both directions and the Romans, by begging forgiveness for past transgressions and offering gifts for good fortune in the year ahead, could seal their fate for the year ahead.
Next, I wondered (based on my own history) about keeping of those resolutions made with such conviction at the end of the year. Some more web-based research led to the very plausible data that a 1997 University of Washington study found 47 percent of the 100 million adult Americans who make resolutions give up on their goals after two months. Newer research from the University of Minnesota says that number has grown to 80 percent in the last decade.
Undaunted by these statistics, I have made several resolutions for the coming year: 1. To lose some weight (This one fails every year, but now it’s public.) 2. To spend more quality time with my family. 3. To balance cheering and mudging in the coming year. and, 4. To write more blog posts about Criteria concepts (like the recent post on intelligent risks.)
Hold me to my resolutions, please. And, a Happy New Year to all my Baldrige friends and Blogrige readers! May we all journey further down the road to performance excellence in 2011!