Welcome back to Nate 90, and Happy New Year to you! Yes, I am going to do it! I am going to poke fun at New Year's Resolutions. But then, I am going to appreciate them at the same time.

The psychology of New Year's Resolutions (and actually many of our holidays) just bothers me! The popular culture tells me what is important, how I should show love, how I should celebrate, and how I should set my goals, and I just don't like that. Something in me just resists that.

When it comes to New Year's Resolutions, everybody is talking about these goals they are setting for the new year. Gym memberships explode during this time, and then by the end of winter (and that is generous... usually by the end of January) people are no longer going to the longer filling their goals.

This is self-defeating, a formula for failure, and all around a bad idea. Although I haven't met someone whose life was changed by a New Year's Resolution, I am sure there are a few. But it seems to me that the large majority of people aren't helped by them. Instead, because of the cultural emphasis on them, they lock step with the culture, and then they trip and fall along with the rest of the culture.

Do you think I am a spoil sport? No fun? A pessimist? Perhaps I am. But before you form your opinion, let's talk a little more about it. It is one thing to say what is wrong about something or someone, but it is another to propose a productive path forward.

It's not always wrong or unhelpful to take your cue from the culture. After all, the culture is a reflection of the majority of people (never mind that there can be an interplay between the majority and the individual). So, with the majority of people thinking a certain way, perhaps there is something to consider.

That "something" is that with turn of the calendar from December to January, there is a feeling of a fresh start. A blank slate. A better future you seems more obtainable with this blank slate. This is a good "something to consider."

Making small steps towards a realistic goal to better ourselves and help others is always worthy of our consideration.

So I appreciate the fresh start that the new year brings. My advice is to take a step back from the culture of New Year's Resolutions. Slow down. Wait. Think about yourself realistically. Talk with people who know you best about the past year. Avoid the caricatures the culture hands you. Choose a realistic goal, then chose a slow path to meeting that goal.