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Top ten Irish New Year’s resolutions and why they’re never kept

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A New Year, a fresh start, rebirth. One week in and how many of us have already broken our New Years resolutions? The answer is: most of us. But there’s no shame in it, we’re all in it together. There is simply an international lack of will power when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.

Last year Jonah Lehrer, author of “How We Decide” wrote “Willpower, like a bicep, can only exert itself so long before it gives out; it’s an extremely limited mental resource.”

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he said, “Given its limitations, New Year’s resolutions are exactly the wrong way to change our behavior. It makes no sense to try to quit smoking and lose weight at the same time, or to clean the apartment and give up wine in the same month. Instead, we should respect the feebleness of self-control, and spread our resolutions out over the entire year.”

But remember the old proverb “A beautiful thing is never perfect” and anyway, we can always try again next year!

Here’s a list of Ireland’s top New Year’s Resolutions: 

1. Spend more time with family and friends

About half of us vow every year that we’re going to appreciate those around us more this year, to make time to meet up and enjoy each other's company. As the saying goes, we should all “work to live, not live to work” though this often isn’t the case.

2. Get fit

This one is a no brainer. Keeping fit and getting regular exercise helps to fight off awful diseases such as some cancers and heart disease and also has the added bonus of reducing weight, increasing longevity and making you feel better. But then of course there’s always something on TV, it’s raining or the other 100 excuses you have in your back pocket, right?

3. Lose weight

See number two. It’s estimated that about two-thirds of us are either overweight or obese so it’s not surprising that this is a popular resolution. Then again there’s always the many excuses we manage to come up with.

4. Quit smoking

It turns out that more Irish people smoke now than did back pre-smoking ban in 2004. Unbelievably, it seems we’re incapable of kicking the habit. Can we blame the stresses of our economic climate? I think not. This one is a no brainer. We need to quit now.

5. Enjoy life more

If this is your resolution I sincerely hope you succeed. Considering the stress we all seem to have mounting up in our day-to-day lives this resolution should be one that we all aim to keep. Get outside and go for a walk, take to the hills, grab a movie or just go for a drink with one of your nearest and dearest.

6. Quit drinking

Many Irish people use the excesses of the festive season as a deterrent against drinking for a month or two. Many people do it in groups and find other ways of entertaining themselves rather than heading to the pub.

7. Get out of debt

This one is easier said than done but recent reports show that more and more Irish people are talking to experts about their debts and trying to get out of financial trouble for the new year.

8. Learn something new

This is a great resolution and is usually why classes are all booked up come January. Another great idea is taking a dance class or even learning to speak Irish.

9. Help others

What better way to feel better about yourself and give back to your community. This doesn’t have to be jetting off to Africa or India or giving your fortune away. Start small with some local volunteering or charity work.

10. Get organized

This one is on just about every New Year's resolution top ten list. Whether you want to be able to invite someone over to your house on a whim, or be able to find the stapler on your office desk when you need it, organization can be a very reasonable goal.

Originally published in 2011

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