Sunday, July 14, 2024
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The Evolution of New Year’s Resolutions

Every year on December 31st, people all over the world observe the ancient custom of making resolutions for the upcoming year. With roots in centuries-old cultural and religious customs, the custom of setting goals for the upcoming year has a rich and diverse past. Let us explore the myth, history, evolution and trends of New Year’s resolutions in this article.


The first known people to celebrate a new year were the ancient Babylonians, who held a 12-day festival called Akitu. It began in March, the start of the spring planting season. During the celebrations, they would make resolutions to their gods. They would usually pledge their loyalty to the king and make promises to pay their debts and return borrowed items to their rightful owners. If they kept their resolutions, the gods would treat them favorably that year; if they broke their promises, they would be on the bad side of God.

Historical Rome

Emperor Julius Caesar instituted a new calendar and set January 1 as the start of the new year in 46 B.C. This is when the contemporary Gregorian New Year got its start in ancient Rome. In honor of the Roman god Janus, the Romans relocated the start of the new year from March, as did the Babylonians. He was a god with two faces, able to look both ahead to the next year and backward to the past one. The Romans would make resolutions for good behavior and provide sacrifices to Janus at the start of each new year.

Historical Resolutions

The Middle Ages saw a continuation of New Year’s resolutions. At the conclusion of the year, knights would make an annual “Peacock Vow.” They would touch a live or roasted peacock to reaffirm their commitment to upholding the principles of knighthood.

New Year’s resolutions became more popular by the 17th century. Scottish author Anne Halkett made a number of resolutions in her journal on January 2, 1671. 

Original Use of “New Year’s Resolution”

Christians used to celebrate mass on New Year’s Eve or Day in the eighteenth century. Worshippers could take stock of the previous year and resolve to improve in the next one. People were making fun of the custom of making New Year’s resolutions in 1802. Two centuries later, people make New Year’s resolutions all around the world, from Asia to North America. These resolutions take on diverse forms across numerous nations, depending on their origins in religion, culture, or personal customs.

New Year's Resolutions
New Year’s Resolutions

21st Century: Resolutions for the Digital Age

The custom of setting resolutions has expanded to include additional channels in the digital era. There are many posts on social media discussing resolutions for the upcoming year, and there are several online tools available to assist people in keeping to their goals.

Bottom Line

The essence of New Year’s resolutions have become a pursuit of your best version since its evolution. Having said that, have you decided on your New Year’s resolutions? If you have, do let us know about your resolutions in the comments. Here’s to wishing you a happy new year 2024!

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