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HOW NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS CAME ABOUT

By: Sophia Okiasi

As every old year comes to an end in December, it is a natural occurrence as people tends to make series of resolutions. A New Year’s resolution is a tradition in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.

It is interesting to note that this practice was an aged long tradition which was traced to the ancient Babylonians who were believed to be the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. Normally for the Babylonians the year began not in January but in mid-March, when the crops were planted and during a massive 12-day religious festival known as AKITU were a new King is crowned or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning King.

Fireworks usually usher in New Year

Also, a similar practice occurred in ancient Rome, after the reform-minded emperor Julius Caesar tinkered with the calendar and established January 1 as the beginning of the new year circa 46 B.C. Named for Janus, the two-faced god whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches, January had special significance for the Romans. 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.

In the Christendom, 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. In 1740, the English clergyman John Wesley, founder of Methodism, created the Covenant Renewal Service, most commonly held on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

New Year arrives in Melbourne, Australia

Also known as known as watch night services, they included readings from Scriptures and hymn singing, and served as a spiritual alternative to the raucous celebrations normally held to celebrate the coming of the new year. This secular celebration is now popular within evangelical Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic which is tagged as watch night services held on New Year’s Eve which are often spent praying and making resolutions for the coming year. But according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful. That means over half of the people who set a goal for the new year will fail!

The study also involved non-resolvers, people who did not make a New Year’s resolution, but had a goal they wanted to achieve that year. Only 4% of non-resolvers were successful at achieving their goals, a far bleaker result than those who did make a New Year’s resolution. Similarly a research conducted in the United State of America shows that, 45 percent of people usually make New Year’s resolutions, only 8 percent are successful in achieving their goals. But that dismal record probably won’t stop people from making resolutions anytime soon. This analysis is closely related to what its obtainable in Nigeria and indeed other part of the world.

Religious Worshippers in Thanksgiving for Surviving Another Year

SOME POPULAR RESOLUTIONS ARE:

  • Promise to donate to charities more often.
  • Try to become more assertive.
  • Strive to be more environmentally responsible.
  • Improve physical well-being: eat healthy food, lose weight, exercise more, eat better, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, stop biting nails, get rid of old bad habits.
  • Improve mental well-being: think positive, laugh more often, enjoy life.
  • Improve finances: get out of debt, save money, make small investments.
  • Improve career: perform better at current job, get a better job, establish own business
  • Improve education: improve grades, get a better education, learn something new (such as a foreign language or music), study often, read more books, improve talents.
  • Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpy, manage time, be more independent, perhaps watch less television, play fewer sitting-down video games
  • Take a trip.
  • Volunteer to help others, practice life skills, use civic virtue, give to charity, volunteer to work part-time in a charity organization.
  • Get along better with people, improve social skills, enhance social intelligence.
  • Make new friends.
  • Spend quality time with family members.
  • Settle down, get engaged/get married, have kids.
  • Pray more, be more spiritual.
  • Be more involved in sports or different activities.
  • Spend less time on social media.
  • Spend more time listening to different or conflicting points of view.
    New Year Eve Pares Occur Across the Globe

However once the radiance of a fresh new year wears off, many people struggle to make good on their plans. As we wish not to be among the people that fail to achieve their aspirations and dreams for 2019, we have carefully selected plan to follow through on your resolution.

Church – Goers on New Year Eve

1. Mentally prepare for change
2. Set a goal that motivates you
3. Limit resolutions to a manageable amount
4. Be specific
5. Break up big goals into smaller goals
6. Write down your goals
7. Share your resolutions with others
8. Automate where possible
9. Review your resolution regularly
10. If you fall off track, get back

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