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New Year Resolutions - the What, When and Why

Updated on December 18, 2016

Achieving a Balanced Diet is Often a New Year Resolution

My plate graphic for a healthy diet
My plate graphic for a healthy diet | Source

As the new year begins many people make resolutions to better their lives. Starting the new year with a positive attitude to make improvements upon the year past has become common practice. But few people know where the tradition originates and why it began.

Saving Money is Often a New Year's Resolution

Saving money is a common resolution
Saving money is a common resolution | Source

What is a New Years Resolution? describes a New Years Resolution as -

'a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year'

Many cultures celebrate the beginning of a new year. Saying goodbye to the old one and welcoming in the new is marked in a variety of ways. For those who make resolutions it is a reflection of improvements they want to make to their lives. This resolution usually reflects on something they want to do or change, often health related.

Where and When did Making Resolutions Originate?

The earliest recorded celebration of a New Year is around 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon.The Babylonians marked the beginning of the new year with a festival that lasted for 11 days. They believed that whatever happened on the first day of the new year would happen over and over again through the coming year. Consequently the day was filled with good intentions, promises and positive behavior. Most historians identify this as the origins of New Years Resolutions.

The Romans during Caesars reign continued this tradition by looking back on the past year and setting goals to accomplish in the coming year. These resolutions were often on a moral theme.

The Development of Resolutions

The practice of of making resolutions has recurred over the centuries. In the 17th century and 18th centuries the Puritan movement practiced avoiding celebrations but encouraged reflecting on the year that had passed. Making resolutions or promises to improve their lives by how they lived, treated their neighbors and avoided sin.

Jonathan Edwards, considered by many to be one of Americas greatest theologians wrote a set of 70 resolutions to live his life by. He read these 70 resolutions once each week, for 35 years before his death in 1758. One example of his resolutions is -

Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

Examples of Resolutions

Lose weight
Improve job
Save money
Eat healthy
Quit smoking
Recycle more
Take a trip

Modern Resolutions

According to the History Channel Website, 45% of Americans make resolutions at New Year. The most popular choices being to loose weight, get organized, spend less to save more, to stay fit and healthy and to quit smoking. The website also records that after 6 months only 46% of these people have stuck with the resolution.

How to Ensure your Resolutions are Successful

Choose a realistic goal - make sure your resolution is achievable. If it is something you know you will have difficulty keeping, choose something else.

Go easy on yourself - if you slip up, and you will, it's ok just get back to it.

Share you resolution - you are more likely to stick with something if others know what you are doing.

Get your family on board - if others are working on the same goal you are more likely to stay committed to your resolution.

Examples of Healthy New Years Resolutions for Kids

From the American Academy of Pediatrics - suggestions for age appropriate resolutions.


I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.

I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.

I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help, or are scared.

I will be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.

Kids, 5 to 12 years old

I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only at special times.

I will put on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright, sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I'm playing sports.

I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!

I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike.

I'll be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by asking them to join activities such as sports or games.

I will never encourage or even watch bullying, and will join with others in telling bullies to stop.

Kids, 13 years old and older

I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink sodas only at special times.

I will take care of my body through physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.

When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.

When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied or making risky choices, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.

I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco-cigarettes, drugs or alcohol.

I agree not to use a cellphone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.


Submit a Comment

  • Ruthbro profile image

    Ruthbro 3 years ago from USA

    Thanks for reading, I agree you have to be honest about your goals, setting unrealistic one is just setting yourself up for failure.

  • sachin001 profile image

    Sachin 3 years ago from India

    I actually do not believe in new year resolutions because most of the times its get broken or people find it hard to follow.

    I believe in being dedicated and honest towards your goals. Be sure to work hard in new year and one can easily find success.

    Thanks for sharing Ruthbro.