New Year's Resolutions: the facts behind the practice, and the most common

New Years Resolutions

We have almost completed the first month of the new year. People are back to their “normal” routine, with one exception:  most are trying to follow their New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions vary from the stereotypical, “I’m going to lose weight,” to some people who state they don't make resolutions. Everyone usually commits to one goal, or at least tries their hardest to do this. But just where did the tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions begin?

Resolutions date all the way back to Babylonian times. The vernal equinox is what kicked off the start of a new year. People held a festival known as Akitu to celebrate Marduk ,  the sky god, defeating the sea goddess Tiamat. During this important religious festival, a new king would be crowned, or the current king would be renewed. People also began using this ceremony to rejuvenate themselves, and this what became the New Year’s Resolution practice of today.

Here are five common resolutions Americans use to improve their lives (listed from least to most popular):

5.  Time management

People who choose time management as a resolution do it to to stop procrastinating about something, or to make more time for family or themselves. Some focus on changing their work habits  and set reminders for themselves. There are also many articles that cover every aspect of time management, but managing time depends on the person, so experiment and see what works best for you.

4.  Travel more

People whose resolution is to travel pick this for a variety reasons. Maybe they have never been outside their hometown, or they limit travel to the occasional short car trip.  Experts say you shouldn't confine yourself to one place.Travel the world, learn about different cultures. Experience all there is to experience. Maybe go to relax on the beaches of Caribbean, or see the forests of South America. Visit festivals, meet new people, learn all there is to learn. You will comeback  in a much better mood with stories to tell.

3.  Get a Job/Better job

Many think self-improvement starts with a better cash flow, as anyone from a 16-year-old trying to get a first job, to an adult looking to get ahead can tell you.  While money can’t buy happiness (this is a known fact), it sure makes happiness easier to achieve.

2.  Improve Relationships

Almost everyone has issues with family or other relationships that they wish they didn't have. Maybe you don't get along with your father, or as a mother you think you should visit your adult kids more often. It could be that you and a sibling seem to always end up fighting, or a co-worker just rubs you the wrong way. However, wishing things were better doesn't make them so. Take a minute to think before you react to that sibling or co-worker. Find some common ground with that difficult parent. Things still may not turn out like you planned, but at least you made the effort.

1. Get Healthy

Getting healthy is the number one New Year's resolution. Most vow to exercise to shave off ten or more pounds by a certain date.  In fact, you’ll hear people say this out loud at New Years Eve parties,  but getting healthy shouldn't just be eating more salads to rid yourself of excess belly fat.  If you're a smoker or vapor, kick the habit. Think before you drink or try  other harder drugs.  And don't forget to do something you love, everyday to try and reduce stress. 

Most Americans selected one or more from this list for their New Year's Resolution. What was yours?

~Spencer Cray

A northern student

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