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The History of Making New Year Resolutions

By Kevin Cain (who hopes to be a millionaire)

Why is it that every January people bore you with their New Year’s resolutions that you know that they are never going to keep to? Ludicrous ideas about eating more vegan salads, not stepping on the cracks in the pavement, or perhaps only going to work when there is a Z in the day.Whether or not people actually take making a New Year resolution seriously or that they are just boasting with too much New Year’s cheer inside, it cannot be flippantly argued that making such a resolution is a new American idea, such as taking your cat to work day.

In fact making a resolution at the turn of a year was deadly serious, and there is some evidence that seems to point to it being originated over 4,000 years ago.The evidence seems to back up that the Babylonians were the first people to make New Year’s resolutions. At the time they used to celebrate honouring the change of a new year every March when the new crops were planted.This celebration was a religious festival called Akitu, where prayers were offered up to the gods promising to return debts and return borrowed goods. These promises are thought to be the early forms of New Year resolutions.If they were good Babylonians and kept to their promises, then the gods would give them good fortune in the coming year.

Following the Babylonians the Romans also had their version of making a resolution, but only after Julius Caesar had moved the change of the year to January the 1st. Possibly because he had a holiday booked in March, but more probably because the month of January had special significance to Romans.January was named after the god Janus, who was a two faced God that looked behind him on the year just departed and also ahead to see what was in the future. The Romans offered up sacrifices to Janus and promised to behave themselves in the coming year, starting with an orgy or two.

The Christians were a lot slower to get into the festival and celebration mode, for them the new year became traditional for musing on their past mistakes and making resolutions to be better in the future.It was the Methodists in around 1740 who founded a ritual called the Covenant Renewal Service which was held on New Year’s Eve. The event as you would expect was quite a solemn occasion, with plenty of hymn singing and scripture reading, and was in direct competition to the decadent celebrations of the rest of the world.These night services are still popular in certain countries today, where prayers and resolutions are offered up to the coming new year. Many religious cultures developed the first New Year resolutions, but over time more secular people have taken the mantle up and make resolutions not to gods but to themselves.

Today the eight most popular New Year resolutions in the world are: to be a better person, to lose weight, to exercise more, spend less money, to improve health, to eat healthier, get a better job, and to quit smoking.All these worthwhile resolutions are what many us dearly want to happen but find very hard to actually do anything about it. That is why so many people fail dismally with promises made to oneself for improvement. Perhaps you should look at the celebration of a new year a chance to do something different rather than difficult. That way you have far more chance to succeed in your quest, and gain improvement in some manner.


Here are some ideas of New Year resolutions that perhaps can succeed:

Learn Something New Each Day - why not promise yourself to build up your knowledge, this will give you an opportunity to have a better understanding of the world and your role in it.

Play More Often - as adults we never seem to have time to do anything that is pure fun, something that relaxes and is productive. Why not introduce more play into your life, and set time apart to indulge your playful side.

Read More - in this technical age of the fast internet, video games and television, the dying art of reading is vastly underrated. When you take time to read a book the written text conjures up images in one’s mind that are totally individual to the reader. No two persons reading exactly the same piece of literature will have the same imagery forming in their little grey cells. It instills total concentration and thus relaxation to the reader and is a totally refreshing occupation.

Be More Grateful - gratitude has been shown to make a person 25% happier, not only that but it helps to make you appreciate what people do, and understand their difficulties. So the whole thing is a double whammy, you become a happier person and the waiter feels far more appreciated.

Set Aside an Hour a Day to Achieve Your Dreams - why not indulge in fantasy once a day, like playing an instrument or being rich. By dreaming it will have a positive impact on both you and the world around you, as you are trying to aspire to be something better and that cannot be a bad thing. Dreamers are thoughtful people, they take time to think things over and are always hopeful of better things to come.

Whether you actually do make a New Year resolution or not is totally up to you, whether you believe in them again is optional. But if you do make one, try to make it achievable, nobody has set rules and regulations of what it has to be. So our advice at the Pattaya Trader is make it something that will benefit you and the others around you, and most importantly something that is pleasurable to do.