When is a resolution not a resolution?

Not quite midnight

If you forget to make any New Year resolutions, then when asked if you have made any resolutions you can legitimately answer ‘no’.  But what if you make a conscious decision not  to make any resolutions?   Have you not then resolved not to make any resolutions, and so you have a resolution not to make any resolutions.  Therefore you cannot have made no resolutions since your decision not to make any is itself a resolution.  Solution: resolve to make no resolutions other than the resolution not to make any resolutions.  Hmm, now has that solved it?

My resolution is to wish all readers a Happy New Year – whether you make any resolutions or forgot to do so…

Anybody made any interesting resolutions?

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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8 Responses to When is a resolution not a resolution?

  1. Alice Stretch says:

    Is that what you would call a paradox or simply a contradiction?
    I guess I’m the perfect example as I resolved to not make any resolutions, well I hadn’t thought of it in that way until reading this. So my resolution is neither interesting nor particularly valid I’m sorry to say. Anyway, Happy New Year!

    • Lord Norton says:

      Alice Stretch: I regard it as an example of a Catch-22 situation, that is a paradox or predicament in which the apparent options leave no means of escape from the dilemma. Happy New Year.

  2. Carl.H says:

    “When is a resolution not a resolution?”

    When it`s signed Nick Clegg.

    Voter on phone to Liberal Party: ” I`d like a minifesto please “.

    Liberal member: “I`m sorry sir we sold out”.

    Voter: ” I know that, I`d still like a manifesto” .

    As a tee totaller, tomorrow is Saturday you may give it a number if you will, the Government gave me one. It doesn`t alter the fact it`s another day which is only a measure of speed, light and the rate at which we grow then decompose. To the universe it is a insignificant event in the insignificant timescale of life on Earth.

    I resolve to be a little less cheerful and optimistic in my outlook.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Carl.H: Very good. 🙂

      I’m teetotal but I find a good cup of tea – better still, a pot of tea – can really make me feel full of the joys of life.

      Happy New Year.

      • Carl.H says:

        I sit supping tea at this present time awaiting the stroke of midnight, then I can start moaning about all the people making too much noise !

        Happy New Year Lord Norton of Louth may your joys be many and your years be long.

  3. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    I live in a culture where both the specific New Year’s resolution and the specific Leten Penance are important discussions to have with younger generations to whom I am generaly devoted. This devotion is less cl;ear in this case because I have in recent years ceased to formalize these two public symbols. Lent not being the topic I will confine myself to New Year’s resolutions. I would not make any except for what I have described as the culture and so it becomes a positive issue rather than a passive one. I am tempted to resolve not issue any resolution but become irresolute in the the absence of example for nieces and nephews. Then I become more resolved not complicate my life so I resolve to resolve not make a resolution not to resolve while at the same time not resolving to do anything more onerous than my existing obligations. Which pepares me, as Your Lordship can clearly see, for the resolution to remain unresolved in term of traditonal resolutions while resolving my quandary with youngsters by creating an unresolved but deliberate impression of having an undislcosed resolution and discussing resolutions made when I was younger. For me this has resolved the issue of resolutions.

    Resolutely, Happy New Year!


  4. The Duke of Waltham says:

    I thought this scenario sounded familiar: it’s called Russell’s paradox. There’s a whole category of articles on paradoxes in Wikipedia, and I had much fun reading them some years ago.

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