I was curious about what dastardly being visited the tradition of the New Year’s resolution upon mankind, so I looked it up. Here’s what I found.
Babylonians of 2000 B.C. reportedly began the new year by paying off debts and returning borrowed goods (though how anyone knows that is beyond me). Their new year was tied more to nature and the vernal equinox, though. The calendar New Year didn’t come about until 153 B.C., when the god Janus was given the role of guardian at the gate of the new year. He was a good choice, given his two faces and ability to look both forward and backward at the same time and all. Janus was the ancient Roman god of ‘”gates, doors and beginnings.”
It was apparently that “beginnings” part that led to the New Year’s resolution, because those ancient Romans resolved to begin the new year by forgiving their enemies. I wonder how that worked out for them.
I’ve toasted Janus on my way through many New Year’s gateways in my life, and have made a few resolutions along the way. For the most part, those resolutions haven’t come to a good end. I’m not alone in this. A recent survey by researchers at the University of Minnesots showed that 80% abandoned their New Year’s resolutions within two months of making them
As I was looking this stuff up on the web, I saw many lists of “the most popular New Year’s resolutions.” And guess what? I have made every one of them at some point in my resolution-making career, to varying degrees of success. Some will no doubt be familiar to you too.
1. Lose weight – Gah, is there anything more fattening than that resolution?
2. Stop smoking – Hooray for me! That’s one I succeeded at eons ago. Of course, it took me several years, but so what?
3. Get more exercise – I consider this a work in progress. There is no question that I am more active than the first time I made that resolution, but there’s always room for improvement, right?
4. Go back to school – Chalk up another one for me.
5. Get organized – Ah-ha-ha-ha!
6. Quit drinking – OK, this one was stupid right from the get-go. I like me a good glass of wine now and again.
7. Manage finances better – Ah-ha-ha-ha!
8. Learn something new – Check. Blogging counts, right?
9. Spend more time with family and friends – OK, but just the ones I like…
10. Be nice to others – OK, but just the ones I like…
Like I said, limited success.
So this year, I’m only making two New Year’s resolutions:
1. Do good and avoid evil.
2. Stop making New Year’s resolutions.
How about you? How are you doing?