I've never liked New Year's resolutions, though I (sometimes silently) make them every year.
I suspect I'm not alone in my loathing and then listing of things I'd like to change about myself and my life. I'm also pretty sure what I want is similar to that of millions of other people. You know, it's the usual “lose weight and be healthy, learn something new like a language, beef up my savings account” tossed in with journalistic aspirations and potential victories, like getting that editor to acknowledge my email on the first try (chances: slim to none) and more personal bullet points, such as putting a stop to hoarding books and actually, you know, reading that pile of 20 novels I bought last year.
There's such commonality in New Year's resolutions that the U.S. government's official portal even has a list of popular resolutions its citizens make every year:
As you might have guessed, however, the rate of failure is astounding. In fact, a 2007 survey by British psychologist Richard Wiseman put the rate of failure for resolutions at 88%, while suggesting that spreading our goals over time, instead of piling them all as “to-dos” increases the chance that we might finally have the pleasure of crossing them off our lists.
No matter what your resolutions are, or when you decide to see them through, it's clear that the one thing needed to complete them, or even just set them in motion, is willpower. It goes back to that notion that if you want something bad enough, you'll make sure it happens, one way or another.
I'm never going to learn Russian, for example, if I don't make the effort to sign up for a class instead of just using Google to translate news stories. And I can't call myself an avid reader unless I pick up and finish Oscar Wilde's “The Picture of Dorian Gray” instead of watching another MSNBC prison documentary.
While I work on my own shortcomings, I have a few wishes for the namesake of the particular paper this column appears in, too.
I really do love Glendale. From “Glen Bearian” to City Council gadflies and Conrad's, it is a fascinating place that makes you work extra hard to discover its quirks. And I couldn't love this city without offering a bit of constructive criticism from my perspective.
So for 2013, I hope Glendale works extra hard to improve its record in two particular areas: establishing a real hunger and drive to develop its public art beyond a mural in City Hall and the local Lexas Dealership, while also learning the art of safe and responsible driving to quell Glendale's reputation as having some of the worst drivers in the country.
These resolutions require both city leaders and residents to work together for a greater good. Making the city a safer place to drive is an obvious need, but naysayers of public art should know that, if done properly, it has immense potential to change Glendale's personality, open public discussion on important issues and — as demonstrated by the city of Los Angeles — even contribute financially to a city's overall well-being.
Perhaps, a mural on safe driving might be a mutually beneficial compromise?
Here's to a safer and more creative 2013, in Glendale and everywhere else.
LIANA AGHAJANIAN is a Los Angeles-based journalist whose work has appeared in L.A. Weekly, Paste magazine, New America Media, Eurasianet and The Atlantic. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.