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New Year Resolutions


According to historians, New Year's resolutions have been around for about 4,000 years by the ancient Babylonians. For them, the year started in mid-March when it was time to plant their crops. A 12-day religious festival named Akitu is where it began. This is when they made promises to their gods to repay their debts and return any items borrowed. If the Babylonians kept their word, it was believed that the gods would grant them good fortune for the year. If they did not keep their promise, they would not be so lucky. This annual practice could be considered as the dawn of what we know as ‘New Year’s Resolutions’.


It was not until circa 46 B.C. that January 1st was considered the beginning of the new year by a well-known Roman emperor named Julius Caesar. From the Roman god of beginnings and transitions Janus, it is believed that the month of January was named after. GreekMythology.com states that Janus also “presided over passages, doors, gates, and endings, as well as in transitional periods such as from war to peace. He was usually depicted as having two faces looking at opposite ways, one towards the past and the other towards the future. There was no equivalent of Janus in Greek mythology.” Upon offering sacrifices Janus, the Romans, like the Babylonians, made promises of good behavior for the year.


In more recent times, many other religions and cultures recognize January 1st as the start of the new year and celebrate it with religious services of worship and parties to celebrate the survival of the previous year and hope for good fortune in the upcoming year. New Year’s resolutions have evolved over thousands of years. Instead of offering sacrifices and making promises to the gods, we (as U.S. citizens) tend to make promises to a god, and or ourselves.


Are they worth it?


Whether you choose to lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, become more organized, and many others not mentioned. It seems easy at first but as the months roll on by, your motivation seems to decline if the results you are expecting are not coming to fruition.


An online poll of 1,000 people conducted by Statista in November 2017 found that Americans said their resolutions where:

  • 53% – Save more money

  • 45% – Lose weight or get in shape

  • 24% – Travel more

  • 23% – Read more books

  • 22% – Learn a new skill or hobby

  • 16% – Quit smoking

On Jun 25, 2018, YouGov questioned 26,151 US adults. They found that 6% of people said they had stuck to their resolution 100% through, 14% said they had “mostly” stuck with their resolution, and 63% did not make a resolution.


Are they worth it? In my opinion,YES*


*resolutions do not have to start when the ball drops. They don’t even have to last the whole year. Have an achievable plan. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”


How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions


Conduct Research On Resolution. If you want to quit smoking, for example, you should talk to those who were successful with quitting to make a note of how they did it. You should also talk to those who have tried in the past and failed. See your doctor and ask questions of what may come and how to circumvent them and to see if you qualify for medical assistance. If you do qualify for medical assistance, research the medication to see if you are willing to accept the side effects.


Know And Understand Yourself. In my opinion, this is the most important point. If you are resolving to exercise more, setting a goal to work out for two hours a day, five days a week is probably never going to happen. To be honest, life happens. School, work, family friends and other social obligations make it difficult to sustain a regular schedule. Instead, start small; walk for 30 minutes, or run one mile for three days a week. Schedule your workouts around your important life pillars.


Make Them Achievable. Build Up To It, Don’t Go Full Gas The Whole Time. Let’s say you want to run a half marathon by the end of the year. Don’t start day one running all 13.1 miles. Break it down into smaller milestones. When I ran my first half marathon in 2017 in The 18.12 Challenge & Half Marathon, I broke down my training into three achievable milestones; 5K (5 kilometers or 3.1 miles), 10K (10 kilometers or 6.2 miles), and 10 miles. I knew once I was able to run 10 miles successfully, I was confident that I would be able to run the full 13.1 miles in 02:35:56.68.


Consistency is key. Create a routine that you can follow on a consistent basis. When it becomes a task that you can do without thinking about it, it is now a habit.


Slips Are OK. No one is perfect. There will be times when life happens and you skip a workout, fall off the wagon, skip a savings deposit, becomes sick and or injured. That is ok, no one is perfect. Take the adequate time to recover and jump back on the wagon to continue on with the mission.


*resolutions do not have to start when the ball drops. They don’t even have to last the whole year. Have an achievable plan. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

REFERENCE(S)

Ballard, J. (2018, June 28) One in five Americans has stuck to their 2018 New

Year’s Resolution. YouGov Omnibus.

https://today.yougov.com/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2018/06/28/2018-new-years-resolutions-update


Pruitt, S. (2018, August 31) The History of New Year’s Resolutions.

History.com. A&E Television Networks, LLC.


Janus. (2019, September 20) GreekMythology.com.


Statista (2017, December)

https://www.statista.com/statistics/378105/new-years-resolution/


The 18.12 Challenge & Half Marathon 8/27/2017 Results

https://auyertiming.com/pdffiles/8-27-171812_O.pdf