Make Way for the New Year’s Commitment

What is a Resolution?

On Merriam-Webster, the foremost definition of resolution is, “the act or process of resolving.” This is called a circular definition. I am not a fan of this practice, the practice of circular definition, the practice of using the term being defined within in the definition itself. To be fair, the definition does go on to include 7 subparts as examples, but none that really fit what we might think of as a New Year’s resolution, except perhaps 1(c), “the act of determining.” Merriam-Webster offers 6 definitions of “resolution” most with respective subparts. The fourth definition is possibly closest, in my opinion, to the meaning that people (or at least myself) have in mind when and if they are so inclined to declare their ultimate goal for the new year: A New Year’s Resolution. The fourth option defines a resolution as, “a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent voted by an official body or assembled group.” Using just the first eight words of the text, it sounds pretty close to a New Year’s Resolution, right? All of this is to say: I do not make New Year’s Resolutions.


I choose not to make the annual resolution for basically the same reason that you just suffered through its uncertain definitions—the goal becomes hazy as the year progresses. The original reason for making said resolution becomes vague, or perhaps it was ambiguous from the start. So, no, I do not make New Year’s Resolutions. Now, I don’t enter the year just flailing about and dragging the previous year’s deficiencies into a fresh start, no. Instead of a resolution, I make a commitment. In fact, I make the same two commitments to myself each year. Merriam-Webster defines “commitment” as “an agreement or pledge to do something in the future,” or “something pledged,” or “the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled.” “Commitment” is a definition I can stand behind.

self care

So, what commitments do I make?

Each New Year, I make the commitments to myself, my body, and my overall health that I will drink more water and I will abstain from drinking alcohol for the first six weeks of the year. Medical experts agree that there is evidence to suggest that just a one-month break from alcohol can allow your liver to heal, in addition to alleviating other pesky side effects that alcohol my cause to your body and life.

To stop drinking completely, during a pandemic, or even in “normal” times, while living in New Orleans, can be tough! There are several ways to distract yourself from the muscle memory of grabbing a glass of wine at 6:00 pm. The most common for me is to exercise, but this year I am also adding cooking to the list. A cooking project to be specific. A couple of years ago, on a trip to Washington D.C. with my mom, I found this old recipe box full of hand-written, typed, and pasted recipes. I am working my way through this recipe box (very slowly) and recreating these recipes and writing about it. Trying to setup my new blog, “This Recipe Box,” has consumed me for the moment and I’ve tried some delicious new edible concoctions in the meantime! I still need to drink more water. Why is that so hard?!

Typically, the Krewe Du Vieux parade would be the night I would begin drinking alcohol again. That wonderful parade, however, will not be taking place. Just like the rest of Mardi Gras 2021, COVID-19 has cancelled all festivities. I’m not going to lie—it’s made my annual commitments a bit easier to muster through, especially the one in particular. Though, I have to say, January 6th did test my fortitude a bit, but I remained sober and I have decided I will do so until we close on our new house when popping the champagne in celebration of yet another big life event is completely acceptable and will be well outside of the 6-week abstinence period.

Brandon Adler
Brandon Adler is an Assistant Professor and Librarian specializing in legal information and information literacy who is passionate about equal access to information and great cocktails. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a dog.


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