Good resolutions are something like election promises that citizens make to themselves.
The occasion is the turn of the year, it promises renewal and the opportunity for a change of power deep within.
Some want to fight against the excess kilos, others want to become independent of nicotine, while others want more freedom to occasionally do nothing.
Politically, two things are interesting about this.
First, that the intentions of the citizens are hardly aimed at the moral perfection of their own person, as religious customs once provided for at the turn of the year.
At that time it was about becoming a more honest, decent person – which is not linked to religion, but today, if presented as a good resolution, would sound like ten commandments.
Among the ten most popular resolutions of Germans for the New Year are only two that go beyond personal well-being: eat less meat and behave in a more climate-friendly manner.
How to avoid stress when everything is stressful?
Secondly, it is interesting that citizens' resolutions almost always remain resolutions.
Actually, the Germans should be pretty disappointed in themselves: for many years they have made it their goal to avoid stress (this year in first place), to spend more time with family and friends, to exercise more, to eat healthier and to lose weight .
And then at the end of the year they realize that they may not have been completely unsuccessful, but they didn't get as far as they actually wanted.
There are good reasons again this year: how can you avoid stress when high electricity bills are imminent, your job is in danger or, conversely, so many colleagues are sick that the healthy ones work extra shifts?
How are you supposed to lose weight when between the news of the near-bombing of Ukrainian nuclear power plants and toddlers getting sick again, the sweetest consolation is chocolate and a glass of red wine?
And how do you get more time for your family when, after overtime in the office, watching TV, jogging or just sleeping seems more tempting than a game night or a relationship talk?
Private resolutions fail because of the same circumstances as many political promises: When the goal is set, it is unclear how it is to be achieved.
This does not mean that it is unattainable, but that the internal and external conditions under which it could be achieved are still unknown.
The logic of the lesser evil
It may well be necessary to let resolutions go.
It's better to have a tummy for another year than to be in a bad mood from all the diet stress;
I'd rather have more stress at work than no more work.
From this point of view, it is also cheap to accuse politicians of changing their priorities when the time demands it.
The fact that the chancellor of the peace party SPD is investing a hundred billion in the German armed forces, that the green economics minister in Qatar is asking for fossil fuels and the FDP finance minister, who did not want to touch the debt brake, now has to defend high debts, follows the logic of the lesser evils and is not an expression of weakness, but of consideration.
However, the situation is different with promises that it is foreseeable that they cannot be kept;
the chancellor announced at the end of September that the tax cuts he was planning would ensure that neither companies nor families would have to worry when they thought about autumn, winter or Christmas.
Hundreds of thousands of people are so poor that, despite the double boom and triple smurf, they get their groceries from the food bank and list the things they want from strangers for their children on the occasion of a Christmas fundraiser: a packet of chocolate, a Tonie -Figure, Minions themed bedding.
Sentences like "The young people, they are our future" are also not particularly convincing - as the Minister of Education put it a few days ago.
On the one hand, the sentence is about as banal as "Healthy nutrition is good", on the other hand, the policies of the Federal Government are showing that the climate, energy supply, inflation or questions of war and peace in Europe are also our future, i.e. the issue of children comes further behind.
This frustrates many parents, and rightly so.
What to do?
Experts advise making concrete resolutions instead of good resolutions.
So not "lose a lot", but "exercise twice a week", not "eat less meat", but "attend a vegetarian cooking class".
Politicians who formulate their goals pragmatically are more credible and citizens who do the same are happier.