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Getting Ready For Resolutions: A Brief History Of New Year’s Resolutions

A Brief History Of New Year's Resolutions

This month, as we’re getting closer to January I thought we’d spend December getting ready for the New Year by looking at New Year’s Resolutions, their history, popular resolutions, how you can form habits and keep them and how you can track your progress.

A Brief History Of New Year’s Resolutions

The origins of New Year’s Resolutions can be traced back around 4000 years to the Babylonians. They celebrated their New Year in mid-March which was seen as a time of renewal and growth as this was the time of crop planting. Mid-March is also the time when the days and nights are of equal length which would have also held special significance. They also used to repay their debts and returned any borrowed items so they could start the year with a clean slate. It was in this period that the Babylonians crowned their new King, or renewed the current ruler’s right to rule so it was a very important time for their culture.

This tradition of making promises continued through to Roman times with the date of New Year moving to January when Julius Caesar reworked the calendar so that the dates aligned with the movement of the sun. Caesar then moved the start of the year to January the First in part to honour the God Janus, the two-faced God of looking back into the past and forward into the future.

Later after Caesar’s change to the calendar various rulers and popes moved the date around to various times and dates carrying religious significance but Pope Gregory XIII re-established January 1st as the start of the New Year in 1582 and it’s remained that way ever since.

Traditions of making vows continued with medieval Knights reaffirming their commitment to the code of chivalry and Christians (and other religions) using the time to reflect on past mistakes and promising to improve yourself the following year.

Don’t Fall Foul Of Fail Friday

In modern times resolutions are based more on personal improvement with weight loss and exercising more, quitting smoking and eating more healthily being the most common resolutions people pledge to fulfil from the 1st of the year.

According to various studies, up to 88% of people who make resolutions will fail to keep them with most coming unstuck on “Fail Friday” which is the third Friday in January so over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at various ways you can track your progress and motivate yourself to keep your resolutions long enough that they form a permanent habit.

Over To You

Are you planning on making any New Year’s Resolutions? How are you planning on tracking your progress, rewarding or motivating yourself? Let us know in the comments.

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