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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hate Resolutions? Blame the Romans by @JoanReeves

Tired of posts about New Year resolutions? If so, you can blame the whole New Year Resolution stuff on the ancient Romans.

You can relax, this post isn't about writing resolutions. It's about why this is a tradition many of us would like to forget. *LOL*

Fuel for Jokes

Some people write resolutions. Some don't. Some like to set goals for the New Year. Others feel doomed to failure before they start.

Comedians joke that a list of resolutions is a list of things you'll never do. (Too true for most of us.)

A Very Short History

New Year's is the oldest celebrated holiday, dating back 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians who feasted and "otherwise" celebrated for 11 straight days. There's just not that much history to explain the New Year and resolution thing.

Most historical accounts relate New Year's celebrations to the Romans. Supposedly, in 153 BC, Romans placed an image of Janus, the god of beginnings and the guard of doorways or entrances, at the beginning of the calendar. Yes, that's why the first month of the Julian calendar is called January.

2-Faced Janus
Coin with Janus
Coin depicting Janus. Public Domain Image
Janus was a two-faced god, literally. He had a face that looked back on the past and a face that looked forward to the future—all at the same time.

I guess it was appropriate for him to become the symbol for the new year. Perhaps they made resolutions for new beginnings in the New Year, and that's what started it all.

Romans celebrated Janus, looked for forgiveness from enemies of the past and looked forward to the future by exchanging gifts before the beginning of the new year.

(Above at right: coin depicting Janus. Public Domain Image

When Was New Year's Day?

Two thousand years ago, the New Year didn't begin on January 1. Even in our modern world, not every country marks January 1 as the first day of the new year.

In 46 B.C., January 1 became the beginning of the New Year because Julius Caesar developed a calendar (the Julian calendar) that more accurately reflected the seasons than previous calendars had.

Fast forward to today. We still celebrate the coming of a new year, probably pretty much like the Babylonians and Romans—you know, drinking, eating, dancing, music, and some kanoodling with your sweetie.

If you've already fallen off the diet wagon, don't feel bad. In a study on resolutions, more than 50% of the participants were confident they could achieve their goals, but only 12% actually achieved success. Forget that and drown your sorrows in a New Year Romance like Last Chance New Year?

For only 99 cents, you can see how a workaholic executive takes a leap of faith—hoping the man she loves will catch her.

Get Last Chance New Year at Amazon Kindle.

I'll leave you with these thoughts. New Year's resolutions mean changing habits. That's hard work.

Master change the sane way. Pick one thing to change. Work consistently on that until you've mastered it. Then pick another thing to change.That's the secret to successful new beginnings.

Oh, and remember, breathe, relax, and read!


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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Year's Magic by Bea Tifton

Ah, the New Year. All that talk of new beginnings, a blank book, etc. A friend of mine posted something on Facebook along the lines of, “Well, it’s almost the new year. Time for all those ‘Everything’s going to be different and perfect posts.’” I was struck by her cynicism. 
 Don’t get me wrong. I realize that people don’t completely reinvent themselves just because the ball drops on Times Square. The world doesn’t become a Disney movie with helpful animals dropping by to clean my house, (still waiting for that to happen), everything doesn’t magically become perfect.  I’m a grown up, so I know that.

Background vector created by gluiki 

 But isn’t there something magical about new beginnings? They’re hard, sure. They can be messy, even painful. But the optimism. Isn’t that important? We haven’t’ lost our optimism. This year was a very difficult one for my family. There’s something comforting about a “This year will be better” outlook.  I think it drives us to better ourselves. To pick ourselves up and try again. To strive for better habits, a better life.

I’ve often heard people say, “If only I could go back. This time I wouldn’t make so many mistakes. I’d do things differently.” It’s a tempting thought. But the caveat is that we’d have to know we were going back, for without that knowledge, wouldn’t we just make the same mistakes? I’m pretty sure I would make just as many. They may be different ones, but still.

I prefer a different philosophy. Everything I’ve done. Every time I didn’t take that great advice that would have made such a positive difference, every time I impulsively made that illogical decision, and every time I made just the right decision made me who I am today. If I’d followed different paths, be they better or worse, I would be a different person. And after, um, (mumbles indistinctly) years on the planet, I like me. I’ve chosen to like me. And to be proud of the accomplishments I’ve made. And not to live in regrets or what ifs.
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The New Year. A blank book. What an amazing feeling. What a great thing.  The possibilities are endless. Make the most of it.