A New Year’s resolution is a commitment people make at the beginning of the calendar year to better themselves. This could be a commitment to continue good practices, control harmful urges, or accomplish personal or financial goals.
Where Did the Tradition of Making New Year’s Resolutions Come From?
What now seems like a common cultural activity is a 4,000-year-old tradition! The new year represents a significant milestone for many, so it only makes sense to start something new when it begins.
It all started with the Babylonians who started celebrating it in mid-March when crops were planted. The reigning king affirmed the festival with a 12-day-long celebration where people promised the gods that they would pay their debts and return any borrowed objects. They believed their pagan gods wouldn’t favor them if they didn’t abide by their promises.
Early Christians in 1740 held services on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. These gatherings included readings from scriptures and singing hymns.
Over the years, celebrating the new year has become a more secular practice. Instead of promising gods, people make pacts with themselves or their loved ones.
What Are Common New Year’s Resolutions?
Since many consider New Year’s resolutions part of their self-improvement journey, most resort to resolutions that help them become better people whether it’s by improving physical and mental health, or committing to make better financial decisions.
Here are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions:
Enjoy Life More
This one is for people who take life too seriously.
To Eat Better and Exercise More
Not everyone eat healthy meals or exercise as often as recommended. It’s best to set realistic goals when you get started.
To Learn Something New
If you stick to schedules and leave little room for spontaneity, this resolution is perfect for you. Try to learn something new every month or quarterly. It can help you feel inspired and nudge you out of your usual routine.
Mountain climbing, running, or axe throwing are some activities you could consider. Consider gifting your loved one an axe-throwing gift card for FlannelJax’s St. Paul (Minnesota), Grand Rapids (Michigan), or Madison (Wisconsin) location. The recreational centers are safe and have trained professionals to get you throwing bullseyes in no time.
To Quit Smoking
This goes hand-in-hand with eating and exercising more. The new year is an ideal time to let go of old habits that are weighing you down. This may include smoking, drinking, gambling, etc.
To Manage Money Better
An oldie but goodie. This resolution is for those who need help with their finances. Learning how to manage money better can put one in a better place mentally and physically—no wonder it’s one of the top 5 resolutions!
Do New Year Resolutions Work?
The answer really depends on whom you ask. Research shows that about 46% of people stick to their resolution halfway through the year while only 8% remain committed until the end.
When setting a New Year’s resolution for yourself, ask yourself if your resolution is SMART. Making sure that your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound will make honoring your commitment easier.
Are Goals and Resolutions the Same?
Although they may seem like the same thing, it’s best to separate the two. Goals keep a person aligned with what they want to achieve while a resolution is a little different.
Resolutions should be more qualitative than quantitative. Think of it more as a concept rather than a concrete date or number you want to hit. Then, break it down into achievable steps. Make it a process to improve life rather than an intimidating target that weighs you down. Incremental changes add up over time!
Tip To Stay True to Your New Year’s Resolution
No one makes a resolution with the intention to deviate from it. To ensure that you achieve what you set out to do:
There’s no way you’ll be able to stick to your resolution if it’s unrealistic. For instance, saying you’ll run 5 miles daily if you’re a beginner is nearly impossible. You’ll have to start small and then increase your distance until you’re running 5 miles a day. Strive for an attainable goal.
Don’t wait until the last minute to make your resolution. Instead, consider it carefully before December 31st to prepare yourself mentally and physically for success.
Track Your Progress
Keep track of each milestone or short-term goal that helps you achieve your resolution. This will help keep you motivated. For example, focus on reading the first few chapters instead of reading one book. Maintaining a journal or checklist to help you stay on track is an easy way to monitor your progress.
Don’t Give Up
You may lose sight of your resolution and resort to your old ways. But don’t give up just yet; keep trying. Take it one day at a time. If you slip up, build yourself back up and start again.
Top Resolution Ideas
If you’re new to resolutions and are wondering where to begin, here are some ideas. Personalize them however you like so they’re attainable.
- Start an exercise routine
- Become more organized
- Live to the fullest
- Find something to be grateful for each day
- Quit smoking
- Spend less and save more
- Spend more quality time with friends and family
- Travel more often
- Read more
- Pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill – like axe throwing at FlannelJax’s!
With our tips, you’ll be ready for the new year and be on your way to an improved you.