New Year Traditions: New Year’s Resolutions

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Whether you love them or hate them each year, as we head into a new year, many people begin to make resolutions. So how did this tradition evolve?

Let’s take a look at how people have celebrated New Years over the Centuries.

The Babylonians made promises to their gods each year to return borrowed items and pay their debts.

During Roman times, they would make promises to the god Janus {whom January is named after}.

By Medieval times, the knights took a vow to reaffirm their chivalry at the end of the Christmas season. This is known as the peacock vow.

The Puritans avoided the celebration of any holidays, but encouraged their children to reflect on the past year and contemplate the year to come.

At the end of the Great Depression a quarter of American adults formed New Year’s resolutions and had grown to about 40% by the beginning of the 21st Century.

Many religions have their own New Year practices. Some Christians pray for the year ahead, Jews reflect on their wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness.

Some of the most popular resolutions include to lose weight, get healthy and start exercising, stop smoking, spend less, start a new hobby, read more or spend more time with family or friends.

Often people will set unrealistic resolutions or not set SMART {Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely} goals. In other words, set specific and measurable goals.

According to a 2007 study by the University of Bristol, 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail.

Do you set New Year resolutions? Or maybe you set a word or theme for the year.

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