Crafting out our New Year’s Resolutions

Crafting out our New Year’s Resolutions

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We just turned the page to a new year and as tradition indicates, the time to set goals that spark positive changes in ourselves has arrived. If it’s something you’re postponing, this article can help you to follow through your aspirations for 2020!

Don’t feel pressured in any way, you can draw up resolutions any time, just save this article if now is not the right time for you. Next to a guide to help us follow through our goals, you will also find out where this tradition comes from and the most common resolutions on people’s lists to give you some inspiration.

The history of a New Year’s resolution

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Making a list of promises at the beginning of a new year is a tradition in which we set a list of goals or changes of behavior in the seek of improving our life. But where does the custom come from in the first place?

The curiosity to understand the origins of this practice led to discovering Sarah Pruitt’s “The History of New Year’s Resolutions,” where she details the chronology on the roots of the custom. An interesting detail to observe is that although today the practice is not spiritual but instead focused on self-improvement, its origins are mostly religious ones.

Here are the three precursors to the current practice of the New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. The first signs date back to the Babylonians, some 4,000 years ago. They are the first known to celebrate a change of year, although different to what we now use as a calendar, they started a “year” based on the planting of crops, on [our] mid-March.
    They carried out a religious festival known as Akitu, to crown a new king or reaffirm their loyalty to the reigning king. The resolutions part came when they made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any borrowed objects. If they kept their word, gods would grant them a great new year.

  2. Next, the Romans had their take on resolutions. Our current calendar was “fixed” by Julius Caesar, approximately 46 B.C. He established January 1, named after the god Janus, as the beginning of the new year. Believing that Janus looked back and forward through the year, the Romans offered sacrifices to the deity. They made promises for the coming year while forgiving enemies from the successful year.

  3. Finally, we have the Christians’ approach to setting goals. In 1740, the founder of Methodism John Wesley created the “Covenant Renewal Service,” a watch night service commonly held during New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Today, these services are accessible within evangelical Protestant churches, which receive the new year often praying and making resolutions for the coming year.

As you see, there are a good 4,000 years of tradition backing up our petite list of goals for the new year. We are on a roll here and must keep it going to keep stepping into the years on the right foot!

Ideas for New Year’s Resolutions

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The practice of making resolutions to improve life in the coming year is a great one not just because of the goals but because having a starting and ending date helps to keep us accountable for results.

Remember that resolutions can come in many forms, someone might want to change a bad habit, while on the opposite side, another person may want to develop a positive practice. No matter the resolution, the end goal is always the hope to spark a constructive and self-improving change.

Now that we are two weeks into 2020, it’s possible that you already passed this planning, but if you have not, here are some ideas on resolutions that you may want to add to your list:

      • Schedule more me-time in your calendar
      • Read more books
      • Spend more time with your loved ones
      • Start a gratitude journal
      • Start talking positively to yourself
      • Take a walk outside daily
      • Eat more healthy
      • Get more sleep

And my three personal favorite ones:

      • Start being more creative
      • Start expressing yourself artistically
      • Learn a new hobby like watercolor painting

Receive a free watercolor supplies guide to get started with the right watercolor painting supplies here.

Now it’s your chance to prepare your list of goals. Remember that the new year opens up a sea of opportunities, and we should take advantage of this fantastic chance to reinvent ourselves. 2020 is the perfect time to reprioritize our life and set goals for the 12 months to come.

Steps to follow through your new goals

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Having the list of resolutions ready is the first step; the problem is going through them before the excitement of the new year wears off. Actually, according to this study from 2002 published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, “only 46% of people who made New Year’s resolutions were successful”.

Based on that study, over half of the people who set a goal for the new year will fail to complete it. To prevent being part of the group that fails to achieve their aspirations, you may follow our 6-step guide for following through on your resolutions:

      1. Set a goal that motivates you. Think of something that speaks to you, meaning a goal for and by yourself, not something dictated by someone else. Also, write down WHY you want this; for example, I want to sleep more, so I feel more energized during the day. If the final result motivates you, and only you, the motivation and willingness to achieve it will be stronger.

      2. Limit resolutions to a manageable amount. Having too many goals won’t do it. We only have so much time in the day. So, to keep our attention span balanced, the key is learning to prioritize, and one can do this by knowing one’s limitations. Quality is better than quantity!

      3. Break up big goals into smaller goals. It’s essential to avoid “biting off more than one can chew,” meaning that one must prevent getting over-eager with resolutions. It’s helpful to divide a big goal into smaller and more comfortable to achieve objectives. I.e., Setting a night-alarm at 10 PM to start my night-routine and be in bed at 11 PM the latest.

      4. Share your resolutions with others. This step helps with accountability. If someone else knows about your plans, it won’t be easy to forget or ignore them. The idea of letting someone else down helps following through, and sharing the success of a goal with them will feel great!

      5. Create milestones. This step ensures a regular review of your resolutions. These will be markers that you can use to re-evaluate your progress. You decide the frequency of these “reviews”; of course, the more frequent they are, the better it will work. I.e., Reaching 7 hours of sleep a day within two months.

      6. Reward yourself. When you’ve reached a milestone or goal, don’t forget to reward yourself! For example, buy a new book you wanted to read, get a massage, or book that creative workshop you wanted to try out!

All in all, setting up resolutions should be a balance between your goals, your priorities, your dreams, and your aspirations. When you make sure to take all this into account, you will guarantee great success in your goals!

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What do you think? Are you into the tradition of setting up goals for the year to come? Would you like to try it? There’s no doubt that religiously or not, having one’s list of new year’s resolutions is a strong tradition that works amazing for self-improvement.

Giving oneself a moment of retrospection and reevaluation of life choices is a great way to dive into a new year, full of hope, dreams to achieve, and resolutions to accomplish. What’s on YOUR list for 2020?

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