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A picture taken late on December 25, 2011, shows New Year's street decorations.
New Year’s resolutions: noble and ephemeral, they make their appearance in the dead of winter, and somehow, in our bumbling attempts to stick with them, we claw our way to spring. By the end of the year’s first quarter, however, most of us have broken from our stated goals and moved onward down that road paved with good intentions.
What if, however, you were no longer reporting just to yourself? Last year, New Yorkers Elizabeth and Michael Singer made resolutions for each other, instead of for themselves. Karen Pratt and her son Ben have given each other resolutions for ten years running—since Ben was 12, in fact.
How hard would it be to hear someone other than yourself tell you to lose those pounds? Would you be willing to stick with your resolution if it was based on an observation from someone else? Or does the idea of facing a Quarterly Progress Report from someone other than your employer make you clench your teeth?
Elizabeth Bernstein, writer of the Bonds column for the Wall Street Journal, where she explores human interactions at home, at work or among friends