Setting resolutions is a time-honoured tradition. While we often think of New Year's as the time for this activity, resolving to make changes in our lives can benefit us throughout the entire year. Let's take a closer look at this activity and why we make resolutions to get us started on our journey.
History of New Year's Resolutions
Though New Year's isn't the only time to make a resolution and seek change, it's probably the most popular. So we'll start here and explore the history of this concept and how it came to be.
Civilizations as far back as the Babylonians 4000 years ago have rung in the New Year by paying specific attention to the idea of fresh starts. The annual calendar of the Babylonians began in March, and they would traditionally celebrate with a festival lasting 11 days. During this time, they would offer the gods promises such as resolving their debts to gain the deities' favour. Ancient Egyptians' year was marked to coincide with the annual flooding of the Nile. The Roman emperor, Julius Caesar, was the first to recognize the beginning of the year as January 1st in honour of Janus, the god of new beginnings. The heralding of the New Year as the first of January didn't remain in fashion until 1582, however, when Pope Gregory XIII developed the Gregorian calendar.
Reasons We Make Resolutions
There are many reasons why we make resolutions. As humans, it's natural to want to progress in our personal development and improve our lives. Making a resolution provides clarity to our lives. Essentially, it's like giving us a road map to follow to achieve our goals. Making a resolution also solidifies our sense of purpose. It allows us to make our reasons for existing more tangible and concrete. Making promises to ourselves keeps us accountable, as well. Without this action, we stray from our intended purpose. This can lead to feelings such as loss of self-esteem, worthlessness, emotional turmoil and confusion. Finally, it simply makes us feel good, with a sense of accomplishment, to achieve the goals we set through resolutions. We're able to measure our progress, and that's quite satisfying.
Strategies for Making Resolutions
While we delve into ways to make your resolutions stick and other tips for making them, I'd like to at least touch on some general strategies for developing realistic intentions.
- First, choose just a few things from your wish list to accomplish so that you don't become overwhelmed and quit before you even really get started.
- Next, be specific with your intentions. Making a vague statement like, "I will lose weight," isn't very effective. Stating the number of pounds you hope to lose in a particular time frame is a far better approach.
One final tip is to remain accountable for the promises you make to yourself. You can share your goals with friends or even record your progress in a journal. These steps will help to ensure you are moving forward.
Now you have an idea of why we set resolutions.
It's essential to understand the reason behind doing something if you want to improve your chances of success.
Next we will explore The Importance of Setting Goals