How To Make and Keep Reasonable New Year's Resolutions
It's difficult to say where the idea of making New Year's Resolutions originated. It's easier to pin down how January 1st became the first day of the new year. The ancient Romans set the start of their New Year to occur on January 1st. This was done by a declaration of the Roman Senate in 153 A.D. When the Julian Calendar was established around 46 A.D., it was none other than Julius Caesar that reasserted January 1st as the beginning of the New Year.
Some of the other New Year's customs can also be traced to ancient cultures. The Greeks paraded a baby around in a basket to celebrate Dionysus, their god of wine. This occurred right around the beginning of their New Year and gave us the concept of Baby New Year. The ancient Egyptians believed it important to celebrate the New Year during its first several minutes and hours. This would ensure prosperity during the coming year. They gave us the concept of a New Year's Eve Party.
The idea of New Year's Resolutions may have begun in ancient Babylon. Historians tell us that returning borrowed farm equipment was part of the Babylonian New Year celebration thousands of years ago. It's not hard to assume that when equipment was borrowed, the borrower might make a promise or resolution to return it during the New Year celebration.This tradition was probably adopted by other cultures over the centuries and slowly began to take shape as the idea or tradition of making promises to be kept during the new year.
The modern New Year's Resolution may have came out of a mixture of those earlier concepts, along with the observances of Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement) and the season of Lent (celebrated by Christians and leading up to Resurrection Day or Easter as some call it). Both of these religious occasions encourage people to reflect on their mistakes, make some sort of atonement for them and move on in a more positive and less sinful way.
Regardless of where the whole thing began or how it developed, the New Year's Resolution has become a part of our culture and many people take it very seriously. I look on it as an opportunity to do some mental housecleaning and set a few solid goals for the coming year. And why not? Once the hoopla of the winter holidays passes for another year we can all breath a sigh of relief and get on with our lives. What better way to kick things off than by trying to fulfill some promises we make to ourselves.
If you decide to make a few well-thought out New Year's Resolutions, make sure they are realistic and do-able. Do not try to expect more from yourself than you can personally deliver on. If you are thinking about weight loss, think in terms of a few pounds a month. If you beat that goal, so much the better. If you plan to get a job or a better one, make sure you implement that plan by exerting the effort required and using all the resources at your disposal.
Finding work is work and you have to make a personal commitment to spend a certain number of hours, each day, on that kind of a goal. Research resumes and make sure yours is everything an employer is looking for in a resume no matter what kind of a job you're seeking. Many employers will not even bother to read a resume if it looks sloppy or unprofessional. On the other hand, a good resume can help you to get just the kind of job or position you want and might even help you advance in pay and position later (employers remember and save good resumes for promotion possibilities).
If you have made a commitment to be more positive, it's time to start eliminating as many of the negative influences in your life as possible. Start with the news media. Bad news and criticism sells better to the general public than good news. At least that's the perception that has driven the news business for many years. Even when they try and present news stories with a positive slant, they tend to be depressing and unproductive.
Instead of encouraging politicians to do something about the economy so that there are less hungry and homeless people, for example, they show the President and well-known celebrities spooning out a few crumbs to starving people at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Do you really think that homeless and starving people really care who it is that is feeding them?
I was watching the evening news on a major broadcast network the other night and noticed that following one of these 'feel good' stories about giving out food, they made the statement that one in two American children now live below the poverty level. Sound crazy? Well, yea, because it's not true. You would be shocked at how often reporters get it wrong. Just go online and look at their reports on the web or mobile phone sites. They cannot even spell the news correctly, let alone get the stories right.
If someone or something is bringing you down, do your best to limit access to those influences. Negativity is infectious, but so is positivity. Find more positive influences to bring into your life. If you cannot get away from someone who is always being very negative (like a family member), do your best to convert them from the dark side. Remind them that life is a gift that can be enjoyed with a reasonable amount of effort.
Relationships are always big in the sphere of New Year Resolutions. People want to start them, end them or find new ones. If that's you, don't settle for anything less than what you are looking for and always consider compatability. No matter how good looking someone is or how great a prospect they seem to be as a date, steady or eventual partner, you are not going to change who they are. People can make adjustments, but they will not change completely and neither will you.
Online dating is an easy out that I do not recommend as a good method to find your next main squeeze. It can be disappointing and dangerous. Start by looking for that special person in places where you feel comfortable (hopefully not bars - a personal observation based on my own beliefs and tastes). Workplace romances are generally unwise, but do not always end badly. School romances are equally chancy, but can also turn out well if you find a person with similar interests and goals.
Your best chance of getting what you want out of the new year is to be steadfast in your commitment to accomplishing what you have set out to do. Completely remove the very idea of giving up your resolution or giving in to forces that make it seem impossible for you to succeed from your mind. You can make your New Year's Resolutions successful ones if you keep your list short, your expectations within reason, stay with the program you created and be willing to put in the time and effort needed to do what is necessary to bring about positive outcomes. In the mean time, have a very happy New Year!