What do the Babylonians, ancient Egyptians, Julius Caesar and us have in common?
Right now, you are probably not racking your brains for the answer. You are instead likely to be asking “Babylonians… who?” Well, the Babylonians hail from Babylon (surprise, surprise), which was a famous city located in the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia. Its ruins now lie in modern-day Iraq.
At the end of every year, copious amounts of feasting and drinking take place during this festive season — Christmas & New Year celebrations. After overindulging themselves, the inevitable happens and deep guilt sets into these party-goers. Triggered by their desires to start the year on the right note, people begin to then feel the need to lose weight, exercise more and make healthier life choices!
You must have also heard your friend or relative asking: “What is your New Year’s resolution?” Well, where exactly did this trend of making resolutions come from and why do people feel the need to do so? This brings us right back to the question posed at the beginning of this article.
When then did this trend of setting new year resolutions begin?
Contrary to popular belief, the Americans are not the progenitors of this trend. Rather, 4,000 years ago, the Babylonians (yes, the same ones!) were the ones who rang in the New Year with style by having an 11-day festival. During these festivities, they would make promises to their gods, hoping in turn that these vows would please the gods and grant them good luck in the year ahead. The ancient Egyptians did likewise – as did Julius Caesar, who was responsible for moving the start of the new year to January 1st in honour of Janus, the Roman god of beginnings.
Promises made and broken
Yet this strong desire to start off the new year in good fashion does not always guarantee that they are kept throughout the year. In fact, the reverse is more often than not true, people simply do not stick to their new year resolutions! Why is this the case? One main cause is them being overly ambitious. Euphoric over the idea that they can finally take charge of their lives and live more responsibly, people often make too many resolutions at one go. When reality sinks in, they find themselves overwhelmed and instead choose to procrastinate. Frustrated by eventually not accomplishing their list of resolutions, the rest quickly gets abandoned.
How to keep to your New Year’s resolutions
One way to manage the targets we set for ourselves is to be realistic. This means setting more specific goals and starting off small before working your way up to bigger accomplishments. So instead of saying, “I will stop eating junk food entirely”, you can resolve to limit yourself to only enjoy junk food no more than twice a month. That definitely sounds more feasible than completely cutting the bad stuff out of your life, especially if you are a fast food junkie.
The other way is to surround yourself with a good support system. This can be in the form of a few good friends or a family member you know you can rely on. If you are tempted to fall back on your bad habits, they can help by reminding you of what you had resolved to do and get you back on track. Do not underestimate the importance of this, as stress is often what drives people to revert to their old and unhealthy habits. With emotional support, there is a much higher chance of staying on course!
As we start the year of 2018, what are some of the things you have resolved to do better? Do this as a family as a great bonding activity and all the best in making your resolutions a reality!