New Year Resolutions

The What,Why, When and Where of New Year’s Resolutions

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to spark a positive lifestyle change. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make new positive changes that enrich their lives. Have you ever wondered why, when and where it all started ?

What and Why do people set New Year’s Resolutions?

New Year’s resolution is a decision to do or not do something, to accomplish a personal goal or break a habit. A tradition more common in the Western Hemisphere as compared to the Eastern.

The What, Why, When and Where of New Year’s Resolutions

Since, these resolutions are usually made on New Year’s Day, they are aptly called New Years Resolutions.

The History Behind New Year’s Resolution

While January 1st seems like the perfect time to start anew, exactly when people actually developed that mindset isn’t common knowledge. Let’s look at what the historians have to say about when and where it all started.

When and Where it all started

The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s Resolution, some 4000 years ago. Their year started in March and not January when they planted their crops. They honored the new year with recorded celebrations.

During a massive 12-day religious festival known as “Akitu“, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed during this celebration.This celebration, assumably was the forerunner of present day New Year Resolutions.

In Rome, Julius Caesar tinkered with the calendar and established January 1st as the beginning of the new year circa 46 B.C. Honoring Janus, the two-faced god whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches, January had special significance for the Romans.

Pic Courtesy : Sculpture of Janus @ignasi

Believing that Janus symbolically looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future, the Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year. 

For early Christians, the first day of the new year became the traditional occasion for thinking about one’s past mistakes and resolving to do and be better in the future.

The Methodists follow the Covenant Renewal Service, on every New Year’s Eve which includes reading from the scriptures and hymn singing. 

How has New Year’s Resolutions changed in the current times ?

Despite the tradition’s religious roots, New Year’s resolutions today is mostly secular practice. Instead of making promises to the gods, people make resolutions to themselves, and focus purely on self-improvement.

How is January 1st, important in setting our New Year resolutions ?

New Year’s resolutions promise us a fresh start, a new beginning. A second chance, really. It’s a marker, a reminder, a call-to-action, a clean slate.It comes at a time when people look back at the past year and make an effort to improve themselves as the new year begins.

Are New Year’s resolutions good to make?

New Year’s Resolutions are essentially goals .They increase a person’s well-being by forcing us to look back on what worked and what did not in the previous years. They help us understand what we value most and then plan our new goals and structure our time accordingly.

Why Goal setting works

Five reasons why goal setting works

1. Goals trigger behavior.

When you set a goal you naturally direct your attention toward a next step and, as a result, lead yourself in the right direction which forces your actions—your behaviors—to follow. 

2. Goals guide your focus.

Having a clear, compelling goal mobilizes your focus toward actionable behavior. In other words, goal setting should motivate you.

3. Goals sustain momentum.

Seeing progress is addicting because of the dopamine released in your brain after attaining a reward. You are in the flow ( an optimal state of mental behavior & happiness)

4. Goals align your focus.

Goal setting helps you align focus with behavior because you get feedback on your progress. The actions you take—or avoid—offer clues about your values, beliefs, challenges, strengths and weaknesses which allow you to course correct as necessary and reset your goal achievement strategy (and subsequently, your focus).

5. Goal setting promotes self-mastery.

 Achieving goals builds character.The process of goal setting is important because it helps unearth and identify what’s truly important to you.

What are the 5 most popular categories that people set their New Year’s resolutions on?

Some of the most popular categories that people set their New Year’s Resolutions on falls into the following five categories, namely :

  3. TIME
  5. LOVE

What are some common New Year’s Resolution ideas?

Not all goals are activity based, some are professional goals, some are meant to inspire happiness and some highly personal. Basically they fall into five different categories. Here are a few examples on each of the five categories –

Health :

Wealth :

  • Budgeting wisely
  • Saving more, spending less
  • Investing for the future
  • Retirement planning

Time :

Happiness :

Love :

Check the article below for more ideas :

How to make New Year’s Resolution work for you?

When we set goals/ “intentions” and not must’s“, we are most likely to follow through.

Intention is a trick word. If you look at it carefully it is telling us to slow down and look inwards & pay attention to what is here right now.

Intend.Tend in.And here is the spaciousness, the seeing, the little circles of life coming into completion, the knowledge that there is a freshness coming, and that it’s not time yet. A sense of appreciation for the tender perfection of this moment, with its tiny wobbles and deep truth.

So this is my place of truth and power right now.

Intentions inspire you to live your best life while looking forward to the year ahead. By choosing to complete one (or more) of these intentions, you’re officially well on your way to furthering your own happiness and fulfillment.

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    Helpful aids to keep track of our resolutions

    Recording our behavior patterns both good and bad during the day helps. Tweaking what did not work, with what felt good when you do it, is a very positive approach to making your resolutions/goals work for you.Some of the helpful aids to carry along our journey of getting into good habits and following through are listed below.(Click on the links to get your free copy!)

    FREE 12 Month Colorful Collage Calendar for 2020
    • A monthly Calendar for the entire year helps us track our progress, and maintain accountability with ourselves, motivating us to follow through.
    • Keeping a journal to record your daily routine and follow up with your goal setting has been followed since ages. research proves that there is more likelihood of success when we write our goals down.It helps us remember them and follow through.
    • One of the best things you can do when trying to create a new habit is to use a Habit Tracker.Whether you are trying to eat healthy, get enough sleep, go for routine walks, mediate regularly or improve a skill, a habit tracker is a good way to create, build and maintain a good habit.Get yours FREE by clicking the link below.
    Sign up below for FREE 12 Month Motivational Habit Tracker for 2020

      Why do New Year’s resolutions fail?

      According to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. While resolving to do better next year by cutting back on this, quitting that, and promising yourself you’ll be more affable, new year’s resolutions still fail.

      Come March or April, when work is killing you, patience is running thin, and life is simply running its course, it is very likely you will drop your resolutions.Having a certain mindset is important to make these resolutions work for you.

      • It’s important for people to set goals that are for themselves and unique to themselves.So often, people seem to be influenced by their friends, their family, what they see in society.Goals need to be made for the individual.Believing in yourself is important.
      • Most New Year’s resolutions also fall short because we approach it with an attitude of deprivation and a highly complex discipline mode. Enjoy the process.If fitness is what you aim at, instead of running off with the treadmill, try yoga or belly dancing for a change. Have fun, while at it.
      • Know your “Why” not just your “What”. Here is a beautiful example given by this article in “You want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? – Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to? – Does losing fat make you feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before? -Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?”

      What is a good attitude to have while setting our New Year’s resolutions?

      In Yoga and in many other philosophical traditions, the belief is that, “we are innately perfect beings and our job is to come home to that feeling “. The feeling of a natural state of wholeness, where our energy and action aligns with our intention in a positive supportive way.

      It is important to honor who we used to be and who we are as we move into the new year.

      Important points to remember while following through with resolutions

      • Change is a constant companion – Decide which role you are playing at the moment.Are you the creator, the observer or the choice maker ?Will you play an active or a passive role in the process?
      • Your thoughts shape your reality at every level, emotional, mental and physical -You are the only one who creates your experiences.Have you ever considered how your thought-responses activate inner structural changes in your brain and body, emotional responses and behavioral outcomes? Understanding how much leverage you have in creating a happy life and experiences is the first step, to accept the miracle making power of your own capacity that’s yours for the asking ( and practicing!)
      • You always have a choice. No exceptions -To rewire and rework old habits, you must be willing to experiment with a new way of approaching certain situations. Freeing yourself to fully accept that do have a choice in what you say or do ,and then to observe the different outcomes you yourself produce.Allow yourself the joy of “possibility thinking”, you will surprised with your own amazing capacity to bring about change.
      • Your power to choose only exists in the present moment – The power to make choices that create a new life and experience for yourself always exists in the present moment, in its purest most potent form. Life does not wait, so beware of “waiting” games of the mind. It’s in the present moment that you will consider new ways of creatively rewiring old patterns.So go on do it now!

      How can I make real changes in my life this year?

      Ask yourself some ambitious yet actionable questions that will help you shift the way you think. Something that will help you bring about the change and get unstuck and rediscover momentum in your life once again.

      Questolutions : A resolution put in the form of questions

      Enter Questolutions, a resolution put in the form of questions. Questions that are designed to spark changes in behavior.Questions are found to be less intimidating, more engaging & shareable compared to declarations of resolutions.

      Use the prompts below to create your own questolutions:

      How might I …

      • make exercise more fun & enjoyable ?
      • double my income?

      What if I…..

      • spent two hours in a week learning a new skill
      • blogged regularly ?

      What do I need to do….

      • to let go off to feel more confident about my ability to succeed ?
      • to plan for a comfortable retirement ?


      So before that bright and busy mind of your runs away with your plans for the year ahead, take a moment to “tend-in” before you”in-tend”.Make a list of the things you will bring your focus to and will all of your strength to. You are sure to succeed.

      New Year’s goals get a bad rap mostly because we set restrictive resolutions that don’t honor our values or ourselves. We set resolutions hastily, minutes before the ball drops, without considering what we truly want. This year, let the above tips help you create nourishing, positive changes and lasting goals.

      Here are some links to my posts on New Year and Motivational Quotes on New Year Resolutions (#JanuaryQuotes) for your interest :

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