The beginning of a new year often brings about a universal tradition, known as a New Year’s resolution. While primarily observed in the Western World, this tradition is also prevalent in the Eastern World. It involves individuals making a commitment to maintain positive habits, alter undesirable traits or behaviours, achieve personal aspirations, or simply enhance their overall conduct throughout the year. In the ancient era of 2000 B.C., Babylonians commemorated the dawning of the New Year with great enthusiasm through a vibrant festivity known as Akitu.
For twelve consecutive days, commencing precisely with the arrival of the vernal equinox, they embraced this jubilant tradition. Akitu marked the inception of the agricultural period, where farmers fervently sowed their seeds and embarked on cultivating various crops. Additionally, it served as a significant occasion to crown their monarch while solemnly pledging to restore any borrowed agricultural tools and settle their debts dutifully. The Romans of antiquity embraced the Babylonian New Year and its associated practice of making resolutions.
Tradition of pledging commitments to the deity Janus.
However, the advent of the Julian calendar in 46 B.C. caused a change in the timing. It was established January 1st as the commencement of the new year, aligning it with the tradition of pledging commitments to the deity Janus, from whom January derives its name. During the medieval times, as the Christmas season concluded, knights would gather to take the peacock vow, ensuring the enduring dedication to chivalry they had sworn to uphold. This annual ritual served as a powerful reminder of their unwavering commitment.
During the watch night services, countless Christians engage in prayers and set resolutions to pave their path for the upcoming year. In the Methodist Christian faith, the Covenant Renewal Service serves as the liturgy for the New Year’s watchnight service. This service, which symbolizes the renewal of their covenant with God, is commonly conducted on New Year’s Eve. However, numerous churches extend this tradition by offering the Covenant Renewal Service on both New Year’s Eve and the following morning of New Year’s Day.
Individuals are urged to introspect and deeply contemplate their actions.
Also, the tradition in question holds numerous religious connections. Judaism observes a series of important events starting from Rosh Hashanah, their New Year, continuing through the High Holidays, and finally reaching Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. During this period, individuals are encouraged to introspect and deeply contemplate their actions and wrongdoings throughout the year, as well as seek and grant forgiveness. Christianity also has a distinct liturgical season called Lent, where people can engage in similar practices.
Nevertheless, Lent primarily focuses on sacrifice rather than personal responsibility like its Jewish counterpart. Every year, individuals partake in a practice that spans across all beliefs and philosophies – the opportunity to introspect and strive for personal growth. In a report from 2014, it was revealed that 35% of individuals who were unsuccessful in achieving their New Year’s Resolutions acknowledged that their goals were unattainable. Another 33% confessed to not monitoring their progress, while 23% simply forgot about their resolutions. The remaining respondents attributed their failure to setting an excessive number of resolutions.
Out of 3,000 individuals, 88% failed to achieve their New Year resolutions.
This data, derived from a study, sheds light on the reasons behind the lack of success in adhering to New Year’s Resolutions. In a 2007 research conducted by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol, it was discovered that out of 3,000 individuals, a staggering 88% failed to achieve their New Year resolutions. Strangely enough, at the start of the study, 52% of the participants expressed confidence in their success. Interestingly, it was observed that men who adopted a goal-setting approach and set small, measurable goals fared 22% better in achieving their resolutions.