New Year's Resolutions
It’s that New Year’s resolutions time of year again where we take stock of the past 12 months and reflect one how we can make personal improvements that we think will change our lives. New Year’s resolutions are normally started on the 1st of January because it is seen as a fresh start, but you can make resolutions any time of year…
The History of New Year’s Resolutions
The month of January is named after the God called Janus. He was the patron and protector of doorways, windows and new beginnings.
He also had two faces and was said to look back on the past and the old year with one and look forward into the future of the New Year with his other face.
Today you’ll find the statue of Janus on the Ponte Fabricio Bridge in Rome.
It is thought that the tradition of New Year’s resolutions begin in 62 BC, with many pledges taking on a worthy theme, like being nice or more helpful to other people.
In the 4th century the official state religion was changed to Christianity and this was reflected in people’s choice of New Year’s resolutions. Many moved away from pledging changes in behaviour in favour of fasting and prayer.
The Top 10 Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions
So what are the most common New Year’s resolutions that those in the western world attempt to commit to every year?
- Lose weight and get fit – This popular resolution reflects the excesses of Christmas. You’ve spent the past couple of weeks eating everything in sight and now is the time to detox. Sales of fitness monitors and running gear go up enormously during January.
- Save more money – Your credit cards took a hammering in the run up to Christmas so this is a natural time to tighten your belt and get out of debt.
- Read more – This New Year’s resolution helps you to widen your vocabulary, but also it shows a desire to make more time for yourself.
- Redecorate – This could either be to prepare to sell your house just freshen up your home.
- Learn a new skill – This is another self-improvement pledge. Why not pick up a new musical instruments, learn a foreign language or aim to pass your driving test?
- Spend more time with the family –This is actually found to be one of the biggest regrets many people have at the end of their lives, which makes it a good resolution to stick to now before it’s too late!
- Go travelling – Many people think that going travelling is only for students or young people, but many employers will allow a career break so it’s never too late. Why not ask?
- Cut down on alcohol – Another popular health resolution. Many charities have seen this trend and have used it as a way to motivate people and raise money. Most recently Dry January, spearheaded by Alcohol Concern.
- Spend less time on Facebook – Regular social media users often feel like a break from the habit of waking up in the morning an instantly checking Facebook.
- Change jobs – New Year, new start. Job search sites see an increase in traffic at this time of year.
The Best Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions
Now, we all start with the best of intentions but sometimes other things get in the way. You might be prone to temptation or just find the new lifestyle too difficult. Those promises we made ourselves and our families at the start of the year can soon seem like a crazy distant memory.
Here are a few tips to help you stick to your New Year commitments.
- Tell people – You are less likely to give up on a New Year’s resolution if you have told your friends, family and work colleagues your plans.
- Use a training app like Coach Me or Ubersense to prompt you – Little reminders each day from your mobile will help you stay on track.
- Reward yourself – If you are abstaining in one part of your life then a reward like going to the cinema or going out for the day will give you something to aim for.
- Set manageable goals – The goals you make need to be achievable or you will get disheartened quickly. Start small and work your way up.
- Resolutions are not just for New Year! - You can set them any time of the year to make it more manageable. You could start January by eating more healthily and then reduce your alcohol intake in March.
What are your goals for 2015 and will you stick to them? What are your top tips for turning your good intentioned resolutions into a lifelong commitment?
Image credits: Jessicakerwinjenkins.com, Shutterstock