Tom Being Tom

Just me, talking about stuff.

To Be Among the 8%


By on 4 Jan 2018

“If you’re not getting older, you’re dead.” ~Tom Petty

I’m running behind. It is the 4th day of 2018, and I’m finally starting to feel like I did on the last day of 2017. Yes, I partied well.

A friend of mine wrote a hard-hitting, powerful, and sagacious piece, on the 2nd to the last day 2017, and I finally just read it. It is about how nothing changes on New Year’s Day. He’s right, it doesn’t. Not in the cosmic sense. It’s really all a state of mind, a matter of perception. Everything in the universe is exactly as it was, for the most part. The only change that really affects us, outside of catastrophe, is an individual change of perspective.

Of course, this means that, for any individual, the ticking of the clock, the turning of the calendar page, or the changing of the final digit in the annual nomenclature can signal massive change. For some, everything changes on New Year’s Day.

According to common understanding, 8% of people keep their resolutions each year. That’s a terribly low number. But that also means that some people do keep them. Less than 10% of the population is left-handed, too, but what that means is that some people are. Less than 10% of the population think that the world is getting better, but I do. And I’m right-handed, so there’s no correlation there.

But let’s break this down.

The population of the United States is 323 million. According to studies, 45% of Americans make resolutions at the turn of the year. And, like I said, 8% of those people keep them. This means that, every year, there are 11,628,000 people out there for whom New Year’s Day was a life-changing event. This January, there are more than 11 million people who are healthier, or kinder, or stronger, more organized, or simply happier in some new way. And that’s only in America.

And if America is only 5% of the world population, and we extrapolate those numbers, then there are nearly one-quarter of a billion people better in the world today, by their own perception.

That’s pretty impressive.

I don’t know yet if I am better today. I didn’t make resolutions so much as set a few goals. Some of those goals have been altered already, but the year is yet young. I know that on New Year’s Day itself, in the evening after a long stretch of celebration, the missus and I vowed some new intentions. I hope those stick; we both deserve to be among the 8%.

But if they don’t, we’ll always have February and April and June and next autumn to make some changes. As my friend intimated, the calendar is arbitrary. Today we have a chance to be better than yesterday, no matter what today or yesterday is. My personal evolution does not stop. Not until I am dead.

I intend to get older. I resolve to be better.

2018, like 2017, will be a fine year. I will do some things better than I have ever done them before. Some things, not as well as I am accustomed. Things that harm me I will try to do less. Things that enrich me I will try to do more.

So, stay hopeful, my friends. Stay hopeful that the best days are still ahead of you. That the world is becoming a better place, despite the contrary news. Stay hopeful that intentions and resolutions can change worlds, big ones and small ones, because, it is only intentions, resolutions, and catastrophes that ever do.

Do you believe that? Do you believe that there are aspects of yourself that you can improve, others you should excise? If so, do so. Not just today, but every day, until everything you want and everything you need is yours. You will either gloriously succeed or you will not, but either way you’ll get older and, having tried, you will be better.

Make the resolution. Set the intention. If not 4 days ago, today. If not today, tomorrow for sure.

I will walk among those who have tried.

Join us in the walk.

240 million people can’t be wrong. 😊

33 comments on “To Be Among the 8%

  1. I everyone kept their new year’s resolutions, we’d all be eating vegetable, in perfect shape, and actually levitating by now.

    1. I don’t believe there is a perfect shape, but I will admit that more vegetables, and levitation, did play into my conversation with the missus on New Year’s Day. 😉 HNY, brotha!

  2. My improvement goal in 2018: no more whiskey while writing. Perhaps just no more whiskey. I learned I’m actually NOT Stephen King.

    1. LOL! Not a one of us is Stephen King, but boy, could that man drink, coke, and write, eh? It’s funny, the only Stephen King book I’ve ever read was “On Writing,” which, as you know, is part memoir, and … wow.

      That sounds like a darn good intention, George! A little more temperance is always a good goal, and one that is also on my list going forth. Thanks for reading, man!

  3. Wow, 11 million better Americans? That is ridiculously encouraging! I love stuff like that, you hear “8 percent” and it’s sad, but “11 million” and the theme from Rocky starts playing in your head lol. I always resolve to add more of what I liked in the previous year, to the new year. Except cookies, I try not to add more cookies…

    1. Ha! Yes, if I added only what I liked, without the caveat to also do less of what harms me, I’d be a hot(ter) mess every year! It is kind of encouraging, isn’t it? When I started the research for this one I started with “how many people keep their resolutions every year” and hoped to gosh it wasn’t “zero.”

      If so, I’d be writing about something else entirely today. 😉

      Thank you for reading, DG, and happiest new year to you!!

  4. Wow, when you break down the numbers like that it is truly staggering that so many people achieve what they set out to. Super cool! I no longer make resolutions; I just try not to be an asshole and try to be as kind to others as I can. And, of course, to get older. Very important that I keep getting older. Wishing you so many blessings this year, Tom, and oodles and oodles of love!!!

    1. Yes, it is! I can think of no more valuable intention than to get older, because without that, no other intention matters. 😉

      Thank you for your blessings, your participation, and, most of all, your unmatched kindness, Tanya! Happiest new year to you!!

  5. I set intentions not resolutions BUT I think the best thing about being a human is that we have the ability to set and change intentions and even change who we are at any time, regardless of the date on the calendar. Imagine the power that holds!

    1. It is an amazing revelation for any who perceive it! Each day we can build upon what has come before, or begin again with new intentions. And whether it be goals, intentions, or resolutions we have the power within us to choose them, work at them, achieve them, to our own satisfaction. In every way, life is worth living, to its fullest, every day!

      Thank you, Nicola, for being a part of all this in 2017… I look forward to more shares in the years to come!

  6. > And if America is only 1/5th of the world population

    Um, more like 1/22. But I get your gist.

    I see your positive attitude now. And now that I’m pretty sure that I /can/ change my mind I’m reminded of the various adages I’ve heard that now seem to make sense.
    • “Fake it ’till you make it.”
    • “Be who you want to become.”
    • “Don’t worry, be happy” (sing it with me now…)

    I’ve always discounted those corny sayings. Now I believe, often unbeknownst to the authors, they hit on this plasticity of mind. If the revolution of the Earth and the flipping of a Gregorian calendar spurs people to attempt the challenge of changing their minds, more power to them. (And to you.)

    1. Haha! Oops. That was supposed to say “5%.” Thank you for pointing it out; I fixed it! 🙂

      I love how you worked the plasticity of the mind into your response. We are involved out here in unified learning, unified affirmation, unified growth. The evolution of each other lends itself to the evolution of ourselves. That is the essence of a tribe, is it not?

      Thank you again for being a part of that, Anony, and for inviting me into yours. Let’s take 2018 by storm!

      1. > The evolution of each other lends itself to the evolution of ourselves.

        Bloody Hell Tom! You need to write Hallmark Gift Cards. That whole paragraph was beautiful.

        1. Haha! Is there a market for existential greeting cards? Thanks again, AM! I am inspired by those who surround me. Appreciate the inspiration!

  7. And on the fourth day, Tom spoke. Welcome to the New Year. It was, as always, a pleasure to spend day one in your company.
    I continue to find your optimism and overall positive take on things refreshing. I often find folks to be either naive or condescending When they make such proclamations. I have no doubt that you will continue to strive for greatness, highlight and grow from your stumbles along the way, and gently push us all to be better with your reassurance through words. Cheers my friend!

    1. Thanks, Dylan, and cheers! I came into this year stumbling quite literally, but I think I’ve already learned a valuable lesson from THAT! 😂I have no doubt, in return, that we will strive for greatness together. Here’s to many more days like day one, brother!

      ((maybe without the shots. 😉 ))

  8. Nothing really changes on New Year’s Day. We are who we are. I’m thinking, there’s nothing left for but to embrace myself with all my terrible flaws. I wish others could do it too. So, my resolution is to meet them halfway, everyone needs to do their part, and clean up their own messes. I don’t believe we can make this world a better place, but if we make it more bearable, I’ll be satisfied.

    So, as you see, I don’t think the world is getting better and I’m right-handed. What’s the correlation here?

    How can you be so optimistic? It’s irritating.

    1. Haha! Oh, I don’t know, Bojana, maybe I was dropped on my head as a child. 😉

      My general philosophy in dealing with people is to accept them as they are. My general philosophy in dealing with myself is, improve. I think each person has to be the judge of whether they are (a) exactly who they want to be in every way, or (b) seek betterment in one or more areas. I am perfectly happy with who I am, even what I have and where I am. But that doesn’t mean I’m done; I could be perfectly happy to improve some things, too.

      Make sense?

      To answer your other question, I’m almost certain there are more right-handed pessimists than left-handed pessimists. 😎

      I’m going to try really hard to post something very negative next time I blog, so as to not irritate you, my friend. So, it will probably be almost entirely about Donald Trump. 🤣

  9. What a wonderful post Tom, yes I’m right beside you on that walk. Love this post and the words “Today we have a chance to be better than yesterday” is so very true. There’s always ways to improve and make ourselves and the world a better place. Happy new year to you my new friend. May it be a wonderful one.

  10. I might not be any better at the end of the year than I was at the end of the last one, but I’m going to try. There’s plenty of room for improvement, and not trying is guaranteed to leave me in that spiral…

    1. The act of trying already makes you better, Harry. By flipping the statistics I presented, a fully 55% of people (in America, at least) do not even try to improve on NYD. This could mean, of course, that they choose a different time to improve, or every time, or no time. Those who choose no time achieve nothing. Those that choose to at least try to improve are improving already, by the act of trying.

      My head is spinning; I need more coffee.

      Happy New Year, Harry! 😁

  11. Thank you for this Tom! Thank you for showing that being hopeful just makes sense. You are putting amazing stuff out into the world that inspires people to stop, think and learn. You have given me a new way to look at an old tradition. I think that it doesn’t matter if you call them resolutions, intentions or goals; if you are thinking and talking about ways that you can make your own life and the world around you better, then you are on the right track. And yeah, vegetables always vegetables. My husband and I had a very in-depth conversation about veggies, after lots of wine of course! Happy New Year, Tom! You are fantastic!

    1. My pleasure, Susan, and thank you! I have always looked at life as a matter of perspective. The world can throw all sorts of madness and cataclysm at us, and it will, but it is how we react to these events that forms our outlook, not the events themselves. When I go through a day, 3 or 4 bad things can happen to me throughout (sometimes more, sometimes less), but 5 or 6 good things can happen, too (sometimes more, sometimes less). When all is said and done, I can choose to remember the bad but focus on the good, or vice versa.

      I choose to focus on the good. 🙂

      We have vowed more veggies, Susan and (gasp!) less meat. We’ll see how we do!

  12. that’s some good math and better writing. I hope your numbers are correct and I walk beside you in keeping it simple and just try to be a better person than I was yesterday.

    1. Thank you, friend! As long as our intentions are set in that direction, and our will is good, we will always continue to get better and better. I believe that. Happy to have you on board!

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