New Year’s Resolutions Part of a Long Tradition
January 3, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
OKLAHOMA CITY – Happy New Year! I hope your celebration of the beginning of 2022 was fun, and in these current times, safe!
Like so many of you, I contemplated my New Year’s resolutions. Doing that made me curious about the origins of this practice. Thanks to the History Channel for providing some fascinating insight on this.
The ancient Babylonians are believed to have been the first to make New Year’s resolutions, starting around 4,000 years ago. They were the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year. They also made commitments to the gods to repay debts and return borrowed objects.
Similarly, Julius Caesar adjusted the calendar in Rome and established January 1 as the beginning of the new year around 46 B.C. The Romans believed Janus, the two-faced god whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches, symbolically looked back into the previous year and ahead into the future. They offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.
For early Christians, resolutions became a tradition on the first day of the new year to think about past mistakes and resolve to do and be better in the coming year. In 1740, English clergyman John Wesley, founder of Methodism, created the Covenant Renewal Service, most held on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Also known as watch night services, these included readings from Scriptures and hymn singing and served as a spiritual alternative to the raucous celebrations which celebrated the new year.
According to the website discoverhappyhabits.com and information published last November, of those who make a New Year’s resolution, 75% are still successful in keeping it after one week. After two weeks, the number drops to 71%; after a month, the number drops again to 64%; and after six months, 46% of people who make a resolution are still successful in keeping it. For 2022, 31% of survey participants planned on making resolutions, 19% are still undecided.
In addition, they found the most popular resolutions for 2022 are exercising more and improving fitness (50% of participants), losing weight (48%), saving money (44%), and improving diet (39%). Of those that made resolutions in 2021, 35% kept all their resolutions, 49% kept some of their resolutions, and only 16% failed at keeping any of their resolutions.
Thinking back on my resolutions from last year, I fell short of some but succeeded with other goals. I have learned happiness is mainly a state of mind, and you are the only one who can control how you handle situations. Obstacles will often attempt to prevent or reduce the enjoyment you find in your personal and work life, so how you handle your attitude is key. With that, these other resolutions requiring action will become much more manageable.
Best wishes to you for a prosperous 2022! Don’t forget, the children of Oklahoma need you to be active and passionate about the issues in which the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy works daily.
I resolve to work to keep you better informed and make it easier to advocate for children’s best interests. Together, we can make this the most-improved year overall for young Oklahomans. Hopefully, on December 31, we can look back at the successful accomplishment of this resolution. You can sign up on oica.org for our weekly newsletter to follow our progress together.