If every person who has ever said, "New year, new me," truly transformed into a completely new personality, the world would be a slightly better place. Why do we associate the beginning of a new calendar year with our personal fresh start, and who started it first? We take you on a journey through history to answer this question.
Around 4000 years ago, give or take, as per some sources, the very first New Year's resolution was birthed! Around mid-March, as per our current calendar, the Babylonians were busy planting crops and making promises to their gods. They pledged to sort out debts and return borrowed stuff, thinking that keeping these promises would make the gods happy and ensure a good year ahead. They took their New Year's resolutions seriously, probably because not sticking to them would upset the gods. Nowadays, if we let our resolutions slide by February, we're mostly just annoyed at ourselves.
Similar resolution vibes were happening in ancient Rome after Julius Caesar said January 1st was the official start of the new year around 46 B.C.E. January was a big deal because it marked a turning point from the previous year. Romans would do the whole sacrifice thing for the god Janus and promise to behave better in the coming year.
Moving into a new year and thinking about the ups and downs of the previous one was prime time for early Christians to make New Year's resolutions too. But, their resolution game was different; it happened in an environment opposite to the lively celebrations on New Year's Eve, which already had a familiar feel. The spiritual alternative involved spending time with the Holy Scriptures, a bit of choir action, and setting resolutions for the next trip around the sun.
Fast forward to today, and New Year's resolutions are a different story. They usually focus on personal goals and mostly involve tweaking habits as the clock hits midnight on December 31st. The symbolism tied to the timing of these resolutions is still quite similar. But, just like our ancestors, we know decisions can be made any time of the year. Still, the start of the year feels like the perfect moment for a personal reset. Take a moment for yourself, open the pack of Prima Peanuts sticks, and think about the resolutions you'll carry into the upcoming year.