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New Year’s Resolutions

When did ringing in the New Year become such a big deal? Turns out, it isn’t just a construct of modern Americans. Some 4,000 years ago, Babylonians rang in their new year with an 11-day festival in March, and ancient Egyptians celebrated the advent of their new calendar during the Nile River’s annual flood. By 46 B.C., Roman emperor Julius Caesar had moved the first day of the year to Jan. 1 in honor of the Roman god of beginnings, Janus. But it wasn’t until 1582, that Pope Gregory XIII brought the Jan. 1 New Year back in vogue with the Gregorian calendar — a concept that persists today.

What about the New Year’s Resolutions? The origin of making New Year’s resolutions rests with the Babylonians, who reportedly made promises to the gods in hopes they’d earn good favor in the coming year. They often resolved to get out of debt. New Year’s resolutions are, as one author wrote, “a triumph of hope over experience” [source: Westacott]. They’re a way to quantify what we wish for ourselves. They are a means to cataloguing our personal dissatisfactions. And, perhaps most importantly, they are a method of erasing errors of the past year.

Now that you have your resolutions, what’s the secret to keeping them? Simply wanting to change is not enough; you need to make it stick. One way to do this is to share your resolution with others (hence the tradition). It’s also important to give yourself some time to make them a reality. More time than you may have planned on, actually. Most believe that new habits can be formed in 21 days, however new research is suggesting we need a longer timetable. One recent study found it took participants an average of 66 days to do something different — and stick with it. So have patience and remember that New Year’s resolutions are all about hopefulness.

What are the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions?

  1. Spend more time with Family and Friends.
  2. Get Fit.
  3. Lose Weight.
  4. Quit Smoking.
  5. Enjoy Life More.
  6. Quit Drinking.
  7. Get Out of Debt.
  8. Learn Something New.
  9. Help Others.
  10. Get Organized.


What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2016? Let us know here.