The History of New Year's Resolutions
The tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.
With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.
The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn't begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.
The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new. The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune. Later, nuts or coins imprinted with the god Janus became more common New Year's gifts.
In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year's Day to December 25, the birth of Jesus. Then they changed it to March 25, a holiday called the Annunciation. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to January 1.
The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar calendars. Some cultures have lunar calendars, however. A year in a lunar calendar is less than 365 days because the months are based on the phases of the moon. The Chinese use a lunar calendar. Their new year begins at the time of the first full moon (over the Far East) after the sun enters Aquarius- sometime between January 19 and February 21.
Although the date for New Year's Day is not the same in every culture, it is always a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year.
Remembering Last Year
What was your biggest triumph last year?
What was the smartest decision you made last year?
What was the greatest lesson you learned last year?
What was the most loving service you performed last year?
What are you most happy about completing last year?
Who was the person that had the greatest impact on your life last year?
What was the biggest surprise last year?
What compliment would you liked to have received last year?
What compliment would you liked to have given last year?
What else do you need to do or say to be complete with last year?
Making This Year Your Best Year Yet
What would you like to be your biggest triumph this year?
What advice would you like to give yourself this year?
What would you be most happy about completing this year?
What would you most like to change about yourself this year?
What are you looking forward to learning this year?
What do you think your biggest challenge will be this year?
What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore this year?
What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that this year?
Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving this year?
What one word would you like to have as your theme this year?