As we progress into the next year, and scarily the next decade, for many people it is a time to reflect on the year they have experienced.
But for most, it is time to look to the future and make New Year resolutions. Making these have become a long running tradition, despite the fact that many fail to keep them (less than 9.2%). So why do we bother? The ambition and hope for the future is usually receded and forsaken by the 12th of January on an average, so why do we start the New Year with such exalted goals?
Originally, 4000 years ago the ancient Babylonians celebrated the new year on the first new moon after the spring equinox. This celebration was called Akitu and lasted for 11 days, where they made resolutions in order to keep the Gods on their side, such as returning farming equipment that they borrowed, or getting out of debt. Of course, society’s trend today of over 71% of resolutions being linked to diet, losing weight or healthy eating, was not the norm of Babylonian society – for one thing, the infamous detox cleanse weight loss drinks or diet replacement bars had not been in existence.
This tradition continued through Ancient Rome, where they originally celebrated it in March, but with the creation of the Roman calendar (which we still mostly follow!) saw more months being added in by the Roman King Numa, including the month of Ianuarius (January). The innovation of the Romans meant that the New Year was then celebrated on the first of January, where farmers were encouraged to make a start on tasks they intended to finish throughout the year, hoping that this auspicious gesture would help them have a good yield. Other offerings and resolutions were also made to Janus, the God of endings, beginnings, and the New Year.
However, it turns out that the countries that had the most people making resolutions, were those that had previously had a strong Protestant influence. It was seen as a way to reform yourself, or indeed to make better choices. Over time, resolutions have lost their religious connotations and have become more jovial, a tradition for people to set goals and to better themselves and their lives.
So, have you set yourself a resolution? If you have, just remember that one of the most important things to consider is if your goal is attainable; have you set your aspirations too high? The small steps and smaller goals and achievements are all critical on the journey towards the end goal.
Ultimately, the world is your oyster.
By Gemma Bridges, Editor in Chief