stuffed ourselves silly with Christmas food (and often having a hand too often
in the chocolate box) I always thought New Year Resolutions prompted promises
to eat less. For others, it was promises to give up this, give up that,
or do more of this or less of that……but it turns out the ancient Babylonians
some 4,000 years ago were one step ahead of us, and were the first to hold
recorded celebrations of the New Year, despite their year beginning in
mid-March when crops were planted, and not in January at all.
massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians crowned a new
king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises
to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed.
If the Babylonians kept to their word, their gods would bestow favours on them
for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favour, obviously
a place to be avoided at all costs. I guess these promises could be
considered the forerunners of our New Year’s resolutions.
Rome, Julius Caesar started tinkering with the calendar and decided the New
Year should start on 1st January, which had a special significance
for Romans. Named for Janus, the two-faced god - who symbolically looked
backwards in time and forwards into the future, the Romans began offering
sacrifices and promises of good conduct, to pave the way for the
Christians, the first day of the New Year then became traditionally the time
for thinking about past mistakes and resolving to do better. Most people
make resolutions only to themselves, and to ways of self-improvement – which
are much harder resolutions to follow! Of those who make a New Year's
resolution, studies show that after 1 week 75 percent are still successful in
keeping it. After two weeks, the number drops to 71 percent, and after 1 month,
the number drops to 64 percent, while after 6 months, 46 percent of people who
make a resolution are still successful in keeping it, which actually aren’t bad
statistics, to my mind. In comparison, of those people who have similar
goals but do not set a Resolution, only 4 percent are still successful after 6
for failure are varied - in one 2014 study, 35 percent of participants who
failed their New Year’s Resolutions said they had unrealistic goals, 33 percent
didn’t keep track of their progress, 23 percent forgot all about their
resolutions, and about one in 10 people who failed, said they made too many!
promises are varied – The most popular health-related resolutions at that time
were losing weight and quitting smoking, followed by eating healthier foods,
getting fit, managing stress, and drinking less alcohol.
dismal failure record probably won’t stop people from making resolutions
anytime soon—after all, we’ve had about 4,000 years of practice.
be successful? Among other things, get plenty of sleep. According to a sleep
expert and neurologist, sleep plays a major factor in the success (or failure)
of the most popular New Year resolutions. For those trying to lose weight or
eat healthier. Lack of sleep decreases leptin which is the hormone that
makes you feel full, and also boosts the ‘hunger hormone’ which increases
appetite, promotes fat storage, and causes poor food choices.
Additionally, for those looking to quit smoking, a lack of sleep is tied to
higher rates of nicotine dependence.
importantly, Change your timing. They say don’t necessarily wait for the new year to make a resolution
- the success of a resolution that alters a habit can hinge on finding the
right moment to make the change.
It was once
said: There is nothing magical about the flip of the calendar, but it
represents a clean break, a new hope, and a blank canvas. So whatever your
choices, good luck with your Resolutions for 2023!
Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man.