With the onset of the new year, millions of people resolve to do something new commonly known as New Year Resolution which may benefit them in future or get them rid of old harmful habits. A New Year Resolution is in a way people make a promise to themselves which usually means a change of behavior or a new goal. Some common resolutions are :
- Exercise more
- Give up alcohol or consume less alcohol
- Loose extra weight
- Concentrate on academic studies
- Create a daily time schedule to get organized
- Quit smoking
- Get into some social activities
- Get rid of drug addiction
- Learn a new skill or hobby
- Read more
- Save more money/Spend less money
- Travel more, etc
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One of the most common times to celebrate the New Year is by the Gregorian calendar in which the first day of the new year is January 1st. Although the practice of New year’s resolution is prevalent in western countries but due to globalization, this has reached to all over the world and is being followed in eastern countries as well although with relatively less enthusiasm. It would be really interesting to know where did it originate from and when did it become such a big deal! Usually the people may be inclined to think that it might be a construct of industrialized modern Europe or America.
It’s believed that some 4000 years ago ancient Babylonians used to hold New Year’s celebrations in mid- March at the time of crop plantation.This 12 days celebration was something like religious festival called Akitu in which Babylonians crowned new king or affirm their loyalty to reigning king. During new year celebrations they followed the practice of setting New Year ‘s resolutions in the form of promises to gods to pay their debts and return any object they had borrowed. This kind of practice is being considered as the forerunners of today’s New Year’s resolutions. During a long period of 4000 years, the nature of New Year’s Resolutions have undergone tremendous transformation from religious to secular in nature.
The question can be asked that ancient Babilonians held New Year’s celebrations in mid March in which the custom of New Year Resolutions was followed, then who shifted it to January 1st and when? This was in fact done by Roman emperor Julius Caesar some time around 46 BC as in Rome similar practices were followed. January 1st as the beginning of the year was established because it was believed that two- faced God Janus symbolically looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future. During the early days of Christianity, traditionally the first day of the new year became an occasion for the Christians to think about their past mistakes and resolve to correct them.
Recently a study on New Year Resolutions in USA covering many aspects has revealed a mind-blowing statistics. Every year around 38.5 % US adult citizens set New Year’s Resolutions. Out of this 59 % of young adults aged 18 to 34 years are actively involved in setting resolutions. The most popular New Year’s Resolution is to do more exercise (48 % young adults). Only 9 % of the adults successfully fulfill their New Year’s Resolutions.
Dr. AQUEEL KHAN
Former Professor and Head,
University Post-Graduate Teaching Department of Biochemistry,
RTM Nagpur University
Nagpur 440010, Maharashtra, India
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org