Ahhh….the NEW YEAR!! Isn’t it great? A time of new beginnings and new starts. An opportunity to start fresh, a clean slate. An entire year at our fingertips. Whatever we want to do in the next year we can achieve. So much to look forward to!
And for 40 - 50% of Americans, we will start with a list of New Years Resolutions. A list of things we want to achieve or accomplish in the upcoming year. So when did we start making these New Years Resolutions anyway? Why did we start doing this? I did some research online to find out more.
As it turns out, humans have been making resolutions for thousands of years. THOUSANDS OF YEARS. The ancient Babylonians were the first people to make resolutions over 4,000 years ago and were the first to hold celebrations in honor of the new year. They made resolutions to their Gods promising to return borrowed objects and pay of their debts. If they kept their word, the Gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If they didn’t? They would fall out of God’s favor – a place no one wanted to be.
Then in ancient Rome the Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, which is how we got the name January. Julius Caesar changed the calendar to make January 1 mark the beginning of a new year, circa 46 B.C. Romans believed that Janus looked ahead into the future, so they offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.
Christians started a watch night services practice around 1740. Commonly held on New Years Eve or New Years Day, it marked the time to think about one’s past mistakes and resolving to doing better in the future.
Today, most New Year Resolutions are focused on self-improvement. For most of us, the common resolutions are to eat healthier, get more exercise, and save more money. Yet studies show that only a small percentage of those who made a resolution stick to it. According to one study, 80% of us will fail by the second week of February.
So what gives? Why do so many of us fail?
According to researchers, it comes down to the enjoyment factor. For most Americans, their New Years Resolutions are looked at as sacrifice, pain, and misery. Instead of thinking of how great we will feel when we can fit into our favorite jeans again, we focus on how awful we will feel when we have to order the salad instead of the Burger. We focus on the short term pain, not the long term pleasure.
We also have a tendency to overthink it. Instead of just going for a run after work, we have an internal battle in our minds between doing what we want to do (relaxing) and what we should do (running). We analyze, think, dread it. Then we convince ourselves its too hard, we are too tired, its all too much. We would have been better off just running. Not thinking about it so much.
We should all over ourselves. Instead of thinking “I should save my money and not buy this dress” we can transform the conversation in our mind to “I will save my money and not buy this dress.”
It’s a 3 Step Solution to the Resolution:
My New Years Resolutions? In addition to exercising more, eating more healthy, and saving more money, I have a mantra of Own It. Own my own business, my own car, my own home. Own my life and stop blaming other people or circumstances for the position I am in today. No one got me here except myself.
So tell me in the comments below, what are your New Years Resolutions for 2019? How are you going to be sure to Own It for yourself?