Do We Have to Make a New Year’s Resolution?

Peace and tranquility for the New Year. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)
Peace and tranquility for the New Year. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)

The other day a friend said to me, “Every year I make a resolution to change myself. This year I am making a resolution to be myself.” Sounds pretty sensible to me.

Anyway, who started this idea of making a New Year’s resolution?

“A New Year’s resolution is a secular tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement, …” says an article in Wikipedia.

The ancient Babylonians and the Romans began each year by making promises to the gods. Similarly, there are many stories in the literature about other religious groups doing something significant in the New Year. The main goal is to reflect upon self-improvement on a yearly basis.

“At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults formed New Year’s resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, about 40 per cent did,” says Wikipedia.

New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.

Some of the common resolutions are: spend more time with family and friends, join a fitness club, lose weight, quit smoking, enjoy life more, quit drinking, get out of debt, learn something new, help others and get organized. Hmm…! How successful are you with resolutions?

A 2007 study from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88 per cent of those who set New Year resolutions fail. Men achieved their goal 22 per cent more often when they engaged in goal setting, something more specific than saying “lose weight.” Women succeeded 10 per cent more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

One way to succeed in achieving your goal is to join a group with similar goals or have a friendly competition with a colleague or a family member.

Do we have to make a New Year’s resolution? Not really. Life goes on. Just be a nice person and keep smiling.

Have a wonderful happy New Year.

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