So what’s the big deal with New Year Resolutions?
What are New Year Resolutions?
Most of us are familiar with New Year Resolutions, which we have tried to make and keep more than once. A lot of us do it every year! A New Year Resolution is a promise that you make to the single most important person in your life. Yourself. Other days are marked for promises you make to other human beings, gods, idols, animals, the world and so on. The list is endless and the list is good. But on New Year’s day, the reason is the best. Only if you promise to run the best course for you, will you be in a position to support others.
What is the mythology of New Year Resolutions?
Janus was a mythological god of Romans way back in 153 BC. He had two faces. One looking forward, and one looking backwards. This symbolised that Janus looked both into the past as well as the future at the same time. The Romans concluded that Janus forgave them for past wrongs, and blessed them for what lay ahead. Hence, on New Year’s Eve, the Romans paid homage to Janus by themselves ceremonially forgiving those who had wronged them the previous year, and making positive promises to themselves for the year that lay ahead. This was the first mythological reference to New Year Resolutions.
What is the history of New Year Resolutions?
Some 4000 years ago, once a year on a particular day, Babylonians celebrated Akitu, the festival signifying the rebirth of the sun god Marduk. The people of Babylon promised themselves to conduct themselves such that the Gods would be pleased with them. The festival then continued for 12 days. At that time, either a new king was crowned or the people again formally pledged their allegiance to their old king. This was the first historical reference to New Year Resolutions. The Romans continued to celebrate New Year in honour of Janus who to them stood for new beginnings.
So what is the relevance of New Year Resolutions today?
Like most good things in life, we have a lot to learn from our ancestors. We have been advancing as civilisations by following their values and traditions to mould our development around them. Whether in a light mood at a New Year’s Eve party or in an formal list, we proclaim our resolutions first to ourselves and then to others.
Why just the coming year, and not the entire life ahead?
This is because we know that we need to set a serious timeline for our goals. Tired of resolving to just do generally better in our lives which we keep doing through the days, we at this time want to set a deadline for our efforts. Thus we become all the more driven and motivated, and eschew procrastination. This also makes us advance a step at a time towards betterment, a step being equivalent to a year in the bigger scheme of things.
So, again, what exactly are New Year Resolutions in more tangible terms?
Setting New Year Resolutions are like setting a roadmap for the next year for ourselves which we intend to follow. This roadmap helps us reach our destination on time with no wasted effort on dallying by the way or getting diverted by distractions. Thus, say for example to a salesman, breaking down goals like wanting to get a promotion this year translates into sizeable chunks like raising your own performance at work by a fixed statistic every month. Or for a person who wants to get rich, setting an attainable exponential increase in earnings and savings per month.
Why so serious?
Having expanded on the histories and philosophies of New Year Resolutions, let us not make you think of them as heavy things to do lists. Ultimately it translates today into bettering yourself by giving yourself the gift of hope accompanied by a promise. And that is beautiful. The most beautiful person is the person who loves him or herself first, as he or she has that positivity and confidence in him or herself to share and spread that beauty of goodness with others. So if you give yourself the hope of attaining the next level of positive things the next year, and formalise it to yourself with an earnest promise, the world becomes a better place for you and those around you. Love yourself enough to respect your own New Year Resolutions and see that love multiply into a global phenomenon.