New Year’s Resolutions – Part 1

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New Year’s Resolutions – Part 1

New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life

Religious origins

Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.[

The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.[

In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.[

At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions. This tradition has many other religious parallels. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People can act similarly during the Christian liturgical season of Lent, although the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. In fact, the Methodist practice of New Year’s resolutions came, in part, from the Lenten sacrifices. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.

Participation

At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults formed New Year’s resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, about 40% did.[5] In fact, according to the American Medical Association, approximately 40% to 50% of Americans participated in the New Year’s resolution tradition from the 1995 Epcot and 1985 Gallop Polls.  A study found 46% of participants who made common New Year’s resolutions (e.g. weight loss, exercise programs, quitting smoking) were likely to succeed, over ten times as among those deciding to make life changes at other times of the year.

(Information from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )