As each new year begins, so does a new resolution – a new commitment of change to reach a goal.
These aspirations involve a desire to part from the status quo and commonly involve personal health, financial, or lifestyle goals. But why do we make these resolutions? What is the history behind them? And how many people actually keep them?
New Year’s resolutions aren’t anything new.
The tradition of New Year’s resolutions actually dates back to 153 B.C. The word January comes from the mythical god of Rome, Janus
. Janus was “two-faced”; he could look forward into the new year and backward into the past. This idea became symbolic for the Romans, so on December 31st they would make New Year’s resolutions and forgive their enemies. The Romans would make promises and give gifts, hoping that Janus would see all the good they were doing at the start of the year and bless them for it.
Many people throughout different regions and cultures have made New Year’s resolutions, but how often are they successful?
By U.S. News’ account, 80% of people fail at their New Year’s Resolution by February
. Most people have the best of intentions when they start their New Year’s resolution, but change can be difficult and stressful. It requires dedication, patience and an organized approach to defining and measuring pieces of the goal to keep motivated.
Once you decide to change the status quo and commit to a New Year’s resolution, define a clear and feasible goal.
The key to success is to understand that the goal is simply an end result of smaller steps of action. As in the quote by Lao Tzu “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Breaking down the resolution into small steps of action will allow you to tackle the change in a palatable size. For example, the desire to lose weight can be an end goal, but it’s the smaller steps
required to get there like food choices, minutes of exercise and self-care that will make the goal happen. Think of the smaller steps required for your end goal – what things need to happen to achieve the result? Measure your progress of these smaller steps to keep a scorecard – this will allow you to see at-a-glance where you currently stand and where you need to go and keep your internal motivation fueled. And finally, keep yourself accountable by sharing your resolution with a trusted friend, family, or group. We all could use a little support and external motivation, and by verbally sharing, others become aware of the change we are implementing and can cheer us on. Enjoy the little successes, and look at your New Year’s resolution as an important and incorporated part of your life.
From all of us at Achilles Group, we wish you continued success and renewal in 2019!