History of Resolutions

History of Resolutions

Everyone knows the start of a new year means constant questions about your resolutions and most of the time you either don’t have one, have one you know you’ll give up in a week or two, or don’t even know why you should have to have one in the first place. To many it seems like a stupid tradition with no true meaning behind it… depending on who you are. To others it is a fun thing to do and gives you more goals to work towards and accomplish.

However, according to the History Channel it is much more than an idiotic tradition no one wants to commit to and dates all the way back to 4,000 years ago.

The Babylonians were actually the first recorded people who made resolutions during a 12 day religious festival that actually took place in mid-March, when the crops were planted, instead of in January. Their “resolutions” were more of promises they made to the gods to pay off their debts and return objects they had borrowed and if they kept their word, the gods would then bestow favor on them for the coming year.

The first to label the New Year as January 1st, however, were the Romans and Julius Caesar circa 46 B.C. They named January after Janus, the two-faced god whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches, and had a special significance to the Romans. They believed that Janus symbolically looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future. The Romans “resolutions”, like the Babylonians, were not what we consider resolutions to be; instead they offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.

Resolutions only quite recently became separated from the tradition’s religious roots. Now instead of making promises to the gods, and being fearful of what might happen if they did not follow through, people choose to make promises only to themselves and very rarely follow through. Personally, I think if anything should be taken from the history of making resolutions it’s that every new year should be a new beginning where we can put the past behind us and make the choice to be a little kinder, a little wiser, and a little more positive. If going to the gym every day or eating healthier won’t work for you, maybe try making a more simple resolution like doing one act of kindness everyday or starting to recycle more. It’s as easy as that!



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