Why Do We Make Resolutions?

Everyone has a mental list of habits they would like to change, and the New Year seems like a perfect time to start. “New Year, new you” is a phrase you will see everywhere towards the end of the year. But just because it sounds right does not mean that it contains any meaningful truth. The year will always change, but you will likely be the same person on the 1st January 2015, that you were on the 31st December 2014.

Unfortunately for many people, the results turn into a very predictable pattern. On the 1st of January, we start off determined to follow through on our goals. Excited and energized, we think that this year will be different from the last, when our resolutions went by the wayside. But by the time February arrives, the majority of us will have abandoned our goals altogether.

Why Do We Keep Making Resolutions When We Know They Fail?

One reason is the idea of starting from scratch. For lots of people, the beginning of the year offers a fresh start and a clean slate. The appeal of this new start – new you makes us feel like we can become a different and better person.

We try our best but when it all gets too hard we just go back to the way we were, which doesn’t mean we have failed, it just means we’re not ready to make those very often large changes in our lives.

The Babylonians Started It

It turns out that making resolutions at the New Year isn’t a construct of modern society. 4,000 years ago, Babylonians celebrated their new year with an 11-day festival in March, ancient Egyptians celebrated the dawn of their new calendar when the Nile River’s would flood each year.

The starting point of making New Year’s resolutions rests with the Babylonians, who apparently made promises to the gods in hopes they’d earn good luck and prosper in the coming year. They often made resolutions regarding money and avoiding getting into any debt.

How Can We Do It Right?

 

Whatever you do tackle, make sure to monitor your progress. If you want to lose weight then check on it every week, if you want to spend less then look at your income and expenditure every month. Sometimes just the act of recording what you eat or spend means you can eat or spend less even if you don’t consciously change anything else.

However there’s an even better way, why not ditch the usual resolutions altogether? Forget about weight, money, eating vegetables, going to the gym and all those typically mundane things we don’t even like to do. Why not focus on changing other areas? Why not try to be a better person or happier with yourself? Here’s some different resolutions you can try:

  • Donate all the clothes you don’t wear to charity
  • Learn to dance
  • Try to speak to someone new every day
  • Don’t weigh yourself for a month
  • Ring people instead of texting them
  • Read a book every day/week/month
  • Address people by their first name
  • Don’t check Facebook for a week
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Compliment yourself every day

You’re more than a body – losing weight and getting into shape is important but it’s not what defines who you are. Value people, places, experiences and yourself by resolving to act on things like the above list and you’ll gain much more out of it.

Then once you’re feeling a lot happier and confident in life the rest usually falls into place on its own. So do yourself a favour, out with the old and in with the new and that means the old, tired and useless resolutions!




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