New Years Resolutions

By Kathy Saul



For some reason self improvement and New Year’s Day go hand in hand. As the New Year approaches, we envision ourselves as organized, thinner, smoke and alcohol free, with well behaved children and in healthy relationships, Visions dance in our heads. What is it about this time of year that makes us resolve to change the same things about ourselves year after year? Where does this yearly yearning for self reform come from?


The origin of the New Year dates back to the time of emperors who felt the need to mark the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year. The first New Year celebrations were in Mesopotamia. New Year has been celebrated at the March equinox as well as the winter solstice. The Roman emperor Julius Caesar declared January 1 to be the New Year in 46 B.C. The month of January was named after the Roman God Janus, who had two faces; one looking back into the past and the other looking forward into the future. Perhaps it is from of our Roman ancestors that we find ourselves reflecting on the past year each December and thinking about what to change in our lives during the coming year.


Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do they work or are you back to your former ways in a month or two? Often, what we resolve to change really mirrors who we are. This type of resolution can set us up to fail. For example, vowing to be organized and tidy when your inner self is a relaxed person who would rather spend quality time with friends and family than clean and plan.


Since we often make the same resolutions each year, perhaps our end of the year reflections should be reconsidered. Maybe we could consider parts of ourselves we need to accept rather than keep trying to change.


Self-acceptance. Do you have a Sergeant Major in your head who constantly reminds you of what you used to do, should be doing now or questions how well you are doing your current task? Accepting ourselves means giving up these battles, accepting reality and giving in to who we are. I read recently that once a person practices non-judgmental awareness, there is often a shift and a natural change takes place. Accepting our less than perfect qualities can increase our energy, and in turn we can devote that energy to more important things such as enjoying life.


So, are you going to makes New Year’s resolutions?



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