Ok, so the presents have been opened, the turkey eaten & the wine drunk, and in few days time we will welcome in the New Year – 2018!

And as always, people everywhere will be making their New Year Resolutions – promises they make to themselves & in some cases to others of things they are going to do during the year that perhaps they have never done before, or have tried to do before, but have failed to achieve.

But New Year Resolutions, have existed for ages –

  • Babylonian’s made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.
  • TheRoman’s began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named
  • In the Medieval era, the knights took the ‘peacock vow’ at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry
  • At watch-night, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions
  • This tradition has many other religious parallels. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People can act similarly during the Christian liturgical season of Lent, although the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. In fact, the Methodist practice of New Year’s resolutions came, in part, from the Lenten sacrifice.
  • The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement

So New Year Resolutions are nothing new, but have certainly changed over the years. The top 5 Resolutions last year were –

Stay fit and healthy 37%
Lose weight 32%
Enjoy life to the fullest 28%
Spend less, save more 25%
Spend more time with family & friends 19%

All very predictable I suppose in today’s modern world, but what other Resolutions could we have?

Well what about –

  • Visit a least one person who lives alone every week
  • Volunteer to help at your local Hospice or similar organisation
  • Spend one hour a week quietly thinking about other people worse off than you are
  • Turn the mobile phone/television/ radio or similar off for one hour every day and enjoy the silence/quiet

But whatever you decide Happy New Year!

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