Dr Johnson in The Idler, October 21, 1758:
It is not uncommon to charge the difference between promise and performance, between profession and reality, upon deep design and studied deceit: but the truth is, that there is very little hypocrisy in the world; we do not so often endeavour or wish to impose on others as on ourselves; we resolve to do right, we hope to keep our resolutions, we declare them to confirm our own hope, and fix our own inconstancy by calling witnesses of our actions; but at last habit prevails, and those whom we invited to our triumph laugh at our defeat.
He said a number of things about resolutions, none encouraging, all woefully true to my own experience. Nor do I believe that calendars have magical powers, that because we've suddenly started giving a new name to the days we are living in, something has changed. But still the feeling is hard to shake, that New Year is a time to make resolutions. And so here I am, resolving to be a good little blogger this year, to try daily to say something or other, to create a bigger, brasher, brighter zoo in the head (oh dear: I think I'm bored with that name). Stay tuned!
The photo, of a sign at Wroclaw Zoo, is taken from Ilona Karwinska's Polish Cold War Neon.
I have now spent fifty-five years in resolving: having, from the earliest time almost that I can remember, been forming plans of a better life. I have done nothing. The need of doing, therefore, is pressing, since the time of doing is short. O GOD, grant me to resolve aright, and to keep my resolutions, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
(One of Dr Johnson's prayers.)