Instant New Year’s Resolutions from Ben Franklin

Annie Holmquist | December 30, 2015 | 613

Instant New Year’s Resolutions from Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin once said, “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.” This little ditty is heavily quoted during this time every year as people make their goals for the coming year.

But what many may not realize is that Franklin’s famous quote is part of a longer list of 13 goals and resolutions which Franklin made in his youth. As his autobiography tells us, Franklin concentrated on one goal each week, and in doing so, was able to make his way through the list four times a year.

Such a practice, Franklin admitted, clearly demonstrated just how far short he fell in these areas. Yet his self-examination was not in vain, for in his old age he was able to look back and see how his practice of these principles had given him the successful life he enjoyed.

Are you approaching the New Year with an eye toward personal improvement, but unsure of where to start? Why not check out Ben Franklin’s list of resolutions and consider adopting one or more for yourself?

1.  Temperance
Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2.  Silence
Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3.  Order
Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4.  Resolution
Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5.  Frugality
Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself, i.e., waste nothing.

6. Industry
Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7.  Sincerity.
Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8.  Justice
Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9.  Moderation
Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10.  Cleanliness
Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

11.  Tranquillity
Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12.  Chastity
Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

13.  Humility
Imitate Jesus and Socrates.



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