Realistic New Years' Resolutions

The making of New Years' Resolutions began in the first century B.C. after Julius Caeser changed the calendar around in order that it would more accurately follow the changes of the seasons.


The first month of the new calendar was chosen to be named after the Roman god Janus, and January 1st became the first day of the new year. Known as the god of beginnings and transitions, Janus is believed to have two faces allowing him to see backwards on past events and forward into the future.


On January 1st at midnight, Janus was believed to concurrently look back at the year ending and ahead to the next year. This also became a time when the Romans would seek forgiveness for the things they did in the previous year and make resolutions or promises to better themselves in the year ahead.

To this day, nations and cultures around the world that celebrate the new year on January 1st continue to make similar resolutions. But while making resolutions may be fairly easy, keeping them is a whole other issue.


Before you make your own resolutions try to come up with ones that are attainable. It's difficult, if not impossible to keep your resolution if it's abstract, broad, and non-specific. Making resolutions to lose weight, to exercise more, or to be happier in the new year are too broad.


More concrete or specifically measurable resolutions have a better chance of being kept. For instance, telling yourself that you want to lose 15 pounds in five months, exercise for 20 minutes three times a week, or do one activity twice a month "for yourself" makes it much easier to know when you've reached your goal.


Think of your resolutions not as promises to do or not to do something, but rather as self-improvement goals.


Having  someboody else to hold you accountable to your goals can be a great source of help and motivation. But don't expect yourself to suddenly and immediately be a new person just because the calendar has turned a new page. Like any change that you want to last, your resolutions and goals need time to develop. It can also really make a difference to give yourself credit for the small steps you make along  the way and to forgive yourself if/when you slip up.


Finally, remember that there's no need to wait until January 1st to make a positive change in your life. Making a "resolution" at the year's turning may be a tradition, but there's no reason why we can't continue to better ourselves all year long.

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