Keeping those New Year resolutions in check past the first few months

Jessie Rota, ‘Doah Staff Writer
January 23, 2013 

It’s 11:58 p.m. on Dec. 31 — two short minutes away from the big moment. All of your friends are getting restless, with their eyes glued to the television set watching Ryan Seacrest count down to the new year: “5! 4! 3! 2! 1! HAPPY NEW YEAR!” Everyone cheers, for the past is gone and a new beginning is just starting. Everyone tells each other their goals — I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to quit smoking, I’m going to work harder at my job, the list goes on and on.

Fast forward three weeks and you’re sitting on the couch eating ice cream, had a terrible day at work and you plan on doing absolutely nothing for the whole weekend. What gives? Is New Year’s Eve just another superficial and meaningless celebration? Is the idea of making resolutions just a scam to sell gym memberships and diet books?

The concept of celebrating the new year and making resolutions wasn’t always the commercialized industry it is today. In fact, New Years has been celebrated since ancient times. The Babylonians made promises to their gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Romans would make promises to the god Janus — for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, knights took what was called the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. And at watch night services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making resolutions.

Even though New Years resolutions have become a bit of a punch line in recent years, if you want to continue the historic tradition, there are ways to better ensure you stay on track. Doing things by yourself is always hard, so have a support group. If you’re trying to be healthier, have a partner to go to the gym with or ask for advice on healthy recipes. A year can feel like a long time, so to make it easier on yourself, break the year down by months and create a schedule. But, most importantly, have fun! Working towards a goal doesn’t have to be a burden. The point of them is to make you feel better about yourself and to improve your life. Be creative, spontaneous and passionate in your goals and above all be supportive of yourself.

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