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    History Behind: New Year’s Resolutions

    New Year’s Eve Colington, NC (Outer Banks)

    After feasts at Thanksgiving, and presents at Christmas, the holiday season comes to an end with the celebration of New Year’s. Year after year friends and family come together to reminisce, listen to their favorite music, and watch the annual ball drop in New York’s Time Square. During that time resolutions are issued, in order to ensure that the next year will be better than its predecessor.

    The practice of New Year’s has been celebrated for more than 4,000 years, beginning with the Ancient Babylonians, after crops were planted. They celebrated during mid-March in a twelve-day festival called “Akitu,” where they crowned the new or reigning king. There were similar traditions in Ancient Rome, but after emperor Julius Caesar reconstructed the calendar, the New Year was celebrated in January, the month named after the two-faced god Janus. It was commonly believed that during that time Janus would look back on the previous year and ahead to the future.  

    Early Christians began the tradition of reflecting on one’s past mistakes, and promising improvement in the upcoming year. In 1740 John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, started the watch night service, which included reading scriptures and singing hymns for the New Year’s holiday.

    New Year celebrations and resolutions are now practiced secularly, in contrast to the past; we make promises to ourselves rather than offerings to the gods. As of 2016, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolution. The most popular three are to exercise, stop smoking, and lose weight. After the first six months, only about 64% of these resolutions are kept.

    Statistics also say that major reasons why resolutions fall short are their lack of accountability and clarity. According to a team of experts from WebMD, here are some things you should do to achieve your goals: baby steps, track your progress daily, and find intriguing ways to obtain success. It’s also important to be realistic and honest with yourself before making resolutions, to avoid setting goals you can never reach. Positivity and honesty are the best policies and with a combination of both, you can be one step closer to making 2019 one for the books!

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