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  • Writer's pictureAmy Trudell

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Let's Chat About...New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions began as early as the 17th Century. This concept originated with the Babylonians who made promises to the Gods in hopes of earning good favor in the coming year. They also held celebrations in honor of the New Year. Back then the start of the year began in mid-March when their crops were planted. This festival was called the "Akitu" during which the Babylonians held a ceremony crowning a new King or honoring the reigning one. Some of their New Year promises included repaying debts and returning borrowed good.

A similar practice occurred in Ancient Rome when Emperor Julius Caesar began tinkering with calendar and established January 1st as the beginning of the New Year. The month of January was named after Janus, the two-faced God whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches, symbolizing the pathway to new a new beginning. The Romans made promises of good conduct for the upcoming year.

For early Christians, the New Year began a tradition of reflecting on one's past mistakes and resolving to do better in the future. In 1740, English Clergyman John Wesley created the Covenant Renewal Service. This celebration is held on New Years Eve and includes time praying and making resolutions for the coming year.

Despite Religious roots, New Year's Resolutions today are mostly of secular practice. Instead of making promises to Gods, most people make promises to themselves, focusing on self-improvement. According to resent research, about 45% of Americans make New Year's Resolutions, but only about 8% achieve their goals.

The most common New Year's Resolutions for 2024 are related to fitness, which differs from last year as being mental health. Research shows that 62% of Americans feel pressure to set a resolution (Women 64% and Men 60%). Overall, 48% want to improve physical health while 36% cite mental health. 55% say physical and mental are equal.

Men are slightly more confident than women in keeping their goals (82% Men / 79% Women). Apps are the most popular tool in maintaining accountability:

  1. Diet Apps

  2. Gym Memberships

  3. Habit Tracking Apps

  4. Calorie Counters

  5. Meditation Apps

Most common New Year's Resolutions for 2024

  1. Improve Fitness

  2. Improve Finance

  3. Improve Mental Health

  4. Weight Loss

  5. Improve Diet

Less common New Year's Resolutions for 2024

  1. Travel More

  2. Meditate

  3. Consume Less Alcohol

  4. Perform Better at Work

This year I am focusing on health! I resolve to:

  1. Eat at least 1 fruit, at least 1 vegetable and no more than 1 bread daily.

  2. Count calorie intake daily.

  3. Exercise at least 5 times per week.

It is proven that if you state your intentions publicly, they are more likely to stick! With that being said...please share some of your New Year's Resolutions in the comments below!

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