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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 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34884498
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 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34884498)

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?

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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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8 comments:

  1. You nailed it. Pick one and work on it. I have three, however. To slow down and stop rushing through life, be happier (not a clue how I'm supposed to do that), and finish two novellas. I'm hoping I'm part of that 12 percent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think if you achieve the slow down and the writing, the happiness will follow. Rushing through life makes us stressed out all the time. I tell myself this affirmation all the time: "The more I take it easy; the more I accomplish."

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  2. Great article and nice Segway. Being born in January, I have researched the month and origins but was not aware of why the new year started in January.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sherri. January is just about as stressful as the time from
      Thanksgiving to New Year's because we have 8 birthdays in January! Every weekend is party weekend. *g*

      Delete
  3. This is the first year I've made a resolution and that is to get more fit. So far, I'm not making much headway but I'm trying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you, Caroline! One goal, one action every day toward achieving that goal, and you'll make it! I know you'll succeed.

      Delete
  4. Interesting post about New Year's resolutions, Joan. I didn't make any, but can tell you we rang ours in with a blast. Literally. You can read about it in my post on the 20th. The flu got me on New Year's Eve and I am just now breaking out of Zombie land. Lol.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yuck. The flu is awful this year, isn't it? Glad you're feeling better. Will definitely read your post on the 20th.

    ReplyDelete

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