It’s a perennial scenario: All the New Year’s resolutionists crowding the gym, huffing away on the treadmill for a few weeks before they again retire to their sofa until next year.
As it turns out, however, a New Year’s resolution to get fit or quit gambling the kids’ college fund on the Vikings can actually work, according to a paper published last year in the journal Management Science. The authors, all from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, write that the data show that time landmarks such as New Year’s “relegate past imperfections to a previous period, induce people to take a big-picture view of their lives, and thus motivate aspirational behaviors.”
On that hopeful note, we asked a smattering of Minnesota elected officials for their New Year’s resolutions.
The Capitol press corps had its own hopes: that Minnesota’s pols commit themselves to scandal and giving colorful and concise sound bites.
Alas, for the press corps, no such luck. With a few exceptions, the resolutions seemed suspiciously poll-tested.
Herewith, some responses:
Sen. Amy Klobuchar begins the year riding high, even though she’ll now experience life in the minority after Republican gains in November. The state’s most popular politician husbands her high approval rating by touting can’t-miss issues like consumer safety and sticking up for Minnesota’s bipartisan food and medical device industries.
Her New Year’s resolution reveals a little something of her political style: “Visit all of Minnesota’s 87 counties (again!).”
Gov. Mark Dayton will be inaugurated to his second term Monday, the first governor in two decades to win a majority of the popular vote. No surprise, his resolution includes an earnest joke: “To lose 10 pounds and 10 years. I expect them to be equally difficult!”
House Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt had a terrific 2014. As the Republican state House minority leader, he helped the GOP pick up 11 seats to win back majority status. His resolution: “In 2015, I want to be able to buy beer on Sundays in Minnesota.”
As most Minnesotans know, current law prevents him from doing so. Daudt proclaims he will push for repeal of the Sunday sales ban. He will face off against the many proponents of the Sunday ban, including the more than 200 cities and towns that run their own municipal stores.
They should sell beer to the spectators of this legislative fight.
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, who represents Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, said his resolutions include repealing the medical device tax, combating sex trafficking and working on tax reform and trade deals. Also, he plans on winning the Minnesota Congressional Hotdish Contest. (Nonnative Minnesotan advice to the congressman: Use fresh instead of frozen tater-tots.)
The press corps’ collective New Year’s resolution? Be less cynical, sensational and conflict-driven.
That should hold up, at least until the Legislature convenes Tuesday.