The tradition of setting resolutions dates back to over 4,000 years ago with the Babylonians. On New Year’s Day, they would crown a new king, promise to return any borrowed objects, and pay off any debts that they owed. If they did not do so, they would “fall out of the gods’ favor.” Clearly, much has changed, and most people don’t believe they will be punished by great deities if they vow to eat healthily and then end up eating an ice cream cone. Yet, we still carry on the concept into our lives today. New Year’s resolutions are no longer promises but rather fun and motivational traditions. Why do we still continue to participate in traditions so different from what they were intended for?
Let’s be honest—do new years resolutions even work? Most, if not all, people I know have not been successful at maintaining the goals they set as their New Year’s resolution. It seems to me that everyone I know who has made a big change in their life was able to do so because they simply put their mind to it. So why wait until the upcoming year to change something? Let’s say a long-term relationship was becoming unhealthy in the middle of October. What if the two said to each other, “Let’s just hold out until January first to relieve ourselves from this toxic relationship.” It simply makes no sense. This idea carries over to setting goals at the start of a new year. New Year’s resolutions almost become an excuse for people who are too nervous or lazy to make changes at that moment. If you want to change something in your life, I think you should change it at that moment.
However, the concept of New Year’s resolutions is great, and it does give people time to plan for a new change in their life that they are trying to implement. It is also motivational for some to see the year ticking by and find a time when they should do what needs to be done.
So should people still bother with making new year’s resolutions? I think so because they don’t cause any harm and probably do work for a few people. I also encourage to not wait for the new year to change and rather in present. Wait for January to arrive before thinking about what your resolution will be, and decide at that moment.
Graphic: Evie Cullen