What is the origin of New Year’s resolutions?


What is the origin of New Year’s resolutions?

According to history.com:

“The custom of making New Year’s resolutions has been around for thousands of years, but it hasn’t always looked the way it does today.” 

The ancient Babylonians were the first people who made New Year’s resolutions—4,000 years ago. In ancient Rome (yes, in Italy!!!) circa 46 B.C., Julius Caesar established January 1 as the beginning of the New Year. Christians, Methodists, Protestants, and others contributed to the evolution of the concept.

I also found this curious: according to wonderopolis.org,

“January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome. Janus had two faces—one looking forward, one looking backward. This allowed him to look back on the past and forward toward the future. On December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forward into the New Year.”

What about today?

“…New Year’s resolutions today are a mostly secular practice. Instead of making promises to the gods, most people make resolutions only to themselves, and focus purely on self-improvement (which may explain why such resolutions seem so hard to follow through on).”

Why do we make New Year’s resolutions?

Drawings by Melinda Walker – One Squiggly Line Visual Thinking

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