New Year, New Me?
Another big day in the festive season is New Year’s Eve, where everyone gets wasted and pretends to believe in the New Year, New Me, philosophy. Not that there’s nothing wrong with having a good time or with wanting to improve yourself. It’s just that New Year’s resolutions are more likely to fail than succeed. So what can be done to beat those odds?
History Of The New Year’s Resolution
According to the History channel, the ancient Babylonians were meant to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions over 4,000 years ago. Although they celebrated their New Year in March, when they planted their crops. The Babylonians would hold a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, where they’d reaffirm their loyalty to the reigning king or crown a new one.
They’d also make promises to their gods to pay their debts and return anything they’d borrowed. Keeping these promises to their gods would grant them favourable treatment from them, or punishment if they don’t keep to their word.
How did New Year’s Eve move to the date we know it to be? First let’s look at how January became important. In an article created for the Washington Post about New Year’s resolutions, the month of January is named after the Roman god Janus. Janus was a god with two faces: one facing forward and one facing back, which symbolized the god’s ability to look both forward and backward at the same time.
Then in 153 B.C., the Roman Senate declared that the new year would begin on the 1st January. Although it wasn’t until Julius Caesar became emperor in 49 B.C. that the calendar was moved so that January falls where it does today. To make this happen, Caesar let the previous year continue for 445 days.
The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions on the 1st January, started during Caesar’s reign. However, their New Year’s resolutions were of a moral nature, such as being kind to others, rather than the self-improvement ones we tend to make nowadays.
New Year’s Eve And Me
For me, New Year’s Eve was the only holiday that mattered. I didn’t care about Christmas, and was more than happy to work on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. It was all about New Year’s Eve for me.
Weirdly, even though I lived for New Year’s Eve, I’d often have no one to enjoy the New Year’s Eve kiss with when the bell rang at midnight. Which kinda made my relationship with New Year’s Eve a double edged sword. Because watching happy couples and people who’ve pulled, kiss, is kinda depressing.
New Year’s Eve is often the biggest collective party you’ll attend all year. Almost everyone and their dog will be out drinking far more than they should be. All to bring in the new year and celebrate the Earth successfully completing another orbit of our Sun. This was often the one night a year where everyone seems to be nicer to strangers, and I liked that.
However, in my entire life, I can count on one hand how many New Year’s resolutions I’ve made. Almost all those resolutions were made when I was still living with my mum as a child. So it’s not something I’ve really done as an adult. In my experience, people make these resolutions, but then never, and I mean NEVER, succeed in achieving them.
The Downsides Of Making New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s resolutions are basically where we set ourselves up to fail, which can affect our self-esteem and our sense of self-worth. According to U.S. News, 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so why start off your year by failing the first thing you promise to do?
80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February - U.S. News Click To Tweet
Here’s a list of some of the possible downsides to making New Year’s resolutions:
- You’re starting off your new year by thinking about your weaknesses and the things you don’t like about yourself.
- It reinforces the idea that you should wait until New Year’s Eve to make positive changes about yourself.
- Making broad New Year’s resolutions rather than specific ones will doom you to failure.
- If you were really interested in changing, you wouldn’t wait until New Year’s Eve in order to do so.
- Last New Year’s resolution failures will decrease the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any future ones you want to make.
- If you’re waiting until New Year’s Eve to make a change, you probably don’t want to change.
- You only sort of want to make a change if you’re putting it off to New Year’s Eve.
- Creating unrealistic and broad New Year’s resolutions will set you up to fail.
- You know you don’t really intend to make that change just yet if you’re waiting for New Year’s Eve. It’s merely the first step down a long road towards the change you’re not quite ready to make.
- If you’re making a New Year’s resolution due to comments or pressure from someone else, you’ll be less motivated to try to succeed, and you’ll be even more affected when you fail.
Improving New Year’s Resolution Outcomes
New Year’s Eve is the time of year when we make resolutions to make life changes, which are doomed to fail. So what can you do to improve those odds?
You can try the following:
- If you want to give your New Year’s resolutions a chance of succeeding, then set goals rather than making resolutions.
- Making your New Year’s resolutions specific, rather than broad. The more specific they are, the easier it is to work towards.
- Creating realistic and relevant New Year’s resolutions. By making them more realistic and relevant, you’re giving yourself a better chance at succeeding with your New Year’s resolutions. This will boost your self-esteem and your willingness to make further improvements in the future.
- Add a time frame to your New Year’s resolutions, so that they’re timebound. This will make it hard for you to keep putting off taking action on your New Year’s resolutions. Otherwise you’ve given yourself an entire year to procrastinate over it.
- Break up your New Year’s resolution into smaller bite size chunks. This will allow you to get a self-esteem boost as you complete each New Year’s resolution chunk you’ve created, which will help motivate you to tackle the next one in the list of your desired change.
- Look at your past attempts to make changes and create a list of where you went wrong and where you went right. That way you can avoid the mistakes of the past and improve your chances at succeeding in the future.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Making changes can be hard, so don’t feel disharted if you think you’ve failed, because you’ve only failed if you give up.
- Seek support. If you want to go to the gym or start a new class, then having a buddy to go with you will increase your likelihood of doing it. Even just having someone offer words of encouragement is enough to help you reach your goals.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with achieving your New Year’s resolutions in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up to my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications of new posts by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom left corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.