With the holidays nearly upon us, it is just about that time to make our New Year’s resolutions. This of course requires us to closely examine our lives over the past year and determine what we think needs to change or stop altogether.
According to the History channel, it was the ancient Babylonians that first made New Year’s resolutions around 4,000 years ago. They would make promises to the gods to return anything borrowed and to pay back any debts and, if they stuck to their word, they would remain in the gods’ favor.
Now, the new year is viewed as a clean slate, a sort of starting point, or stopping point for that matter, to push us into better routines. However, given that a resolution is essentially just a solution, implies that there is some sort of problem that needs fixing.
I wonder: why do continue to run from our problems until New Year’s? Why does a simple change of date push us to become, or try to become, our best selves?
After careful consideration and a brief tour of the human psyche, I have speculated three possible answers to my proposed curiosities:
Firstly, it is no secret that we are a society of followers. As humans we are constantly copying and conforming to trends and societal norms. Therefore, when everyone makes their New Year’s resolutions, for whatever reason, we do too. Why? The answer is very simple–because everyone else is doing it.
Second, around Christmastime we become very focused on the people around us. Our friends, family, and even our enemies can cause us to realize that we might need to make a change. This, in turn, justifies making a resolution at New Year’s because we may have only then understood that you had some sort of problem.
Finally, even if we recognize that there is a problem, whether it is a toxic person or a bad habit, it can be incredibly difficult to let some things go. It is one thing to say you will stop doing something but it is inescapably more challenging to actually cut it from your life. Often times the change that is most needed is the change we least want to make.