The tradition of New Year's resolutions began with the Babylonians. At the beginning of each year, which began in mid-March, Babylonians would make promises to their gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.
In a similar fashion, the Romans also made promises at the beginning of each year, but to one god - Janus. In 46 B.C. Julius Cesar decided to make January 1 the beginning of the year, naming the month after Janus for his ability to look to the future and the past. In turn, Romans would offer sacrifices to him and make promises of good conduct for the new year.
Over the years, variations of this practice have trickled its way down into all parts of the world and molded itself into what we call New Year’s Day. So how is it, after all this time, we’ve managed to keep the tradition alive?
It’s because as we enter the new year, it feels right to start it on the right foot. Sure, resolutions don’t always work out, but does that mean we should stop trying?
In recent years, resolutions have gotten a bad rap. As the new year approaches, people feverishly write down all of their goals and dreams they have for the upcoming months and put their resolutions up where they can see it every day.
Come January, as if suddenly struck with amnesia, most of those carefully written resolutions are forgotten or thrown out and everyone is back at square one. By the time next year rolls around, no one wants to make resolutions because they never achieve any of them.
Although the cycle might seem endless, it’s still important to make New Year’s resolutions. Even if the list gets lost in the pile, it’s still worth putting it out there. It’s still worth remembering all the things you want to accomplish.
So, this year, write down your resolutions. Who cares what happens? Worst case scenario, you do it all over again next year.