When a new year is this close, people make resolutions. A New Year’s resolution is a commitment that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. New year resolutions are made in anticipation of the New Year and new beginnings, with plans to adhere strictly to the new rules for one’s life in the coming year.
We are just hours to the new year in Nigeria, and many who are in the habit of making resolutions for the new year would have done so already. Sadly, people hardly stand by the resolutions they make.
Resolutions however help in goal setting. Gretchen Rubin (author of best-seller “The Happiness Project”) once said; “You hit a goal, you achieve a goal. You keep a resolution”.
For those who say celebrating Christmas is idolatry, making resolutions may also be as its religious origin is connected Babylonian and Roman gods.
The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.
The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
Also, during Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness.
At watchnight services across the country today, many Christians will prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions.
Popular goals over the years include resolutions to:
• Improve well-being: lose weight, exercise more, eat better, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, stop biting nails
• Improve finances: get out of debt, save money
• Improve career: get a better job
• Improve education: improve grades, get a better education, learn something new (such as a foreign language or music), study often
• Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpy, manage time, be more independent, perhaps watch less television, play fewer sitting-down video games
• Take a trip
• Volunteer to help others, practice life skills, use civic virtue, give to charity
• Get along better with people
• Cutting down on drinking
• Making new friends
• Trying foriegn foods
A 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.
Quoting Frank Ra (author of the new year’s resolution book “A course in happiness”): “Resolutions are more sustainable when shared, both in terms of with whom you share the benefits of your resolution, and with whom you share the path of maintaining your resolution. Peer-support makes a difference in success rate with new year’s resolutions”.
It may help if you make your New Year’s resolutions for 2013 with your friends as that may prove more promising of success than making resolutions alone.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Have you made any yet?