It’s that time of the year again and so many people are currently resolving not to enter into the New Year with certain habits. They want to build on new habits. I say they because the last time I honestly wrote down New Year resolution was 3 years ago.  One thing I have realised –and from experience – is that resolutions oftentimes don’t work. Why they don’t work is something you will have to wait until Thursday to know why I said so in the vlog (please subscribe if you have not yet done so and a help a brothers ministry).  We resolved to do things like lose weight, find love and save money. But once the New Year has come and gone, sadly, only 8% of us successfully accomplished what we set out to do according to research.

Today, however, I will like to take us down history lane. How did New Year resolution become a culture? According to the History Channel, New Year’s resolutions date back roughly 4,000 years, to when the Babylonians — a population living in what was then Mesopotamia — commemorated the New Year in March when the season’s crops were planted. The celebration consisted of a 12-day festival called Akitu, when either a new king was crowned, or loyalty to the existing monarchy was renewed. But it was also a time for the Babylonians to make certain promises — things like settling debts and returning anything that wasn’t theirs to its proper owner. Maintaining these resolutions, they believed, came with karmic retribution, in that kept promises would be rewarded with good fortune in the following year.

By 46 B.C., Roman emperor Julius Caesar had moved the first day of the year to Jan. 1 in honour of the Roman god of beginnings, Janus, an idea that took some time to catch on. However, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII brought the Jan. 1 New Year back in vogue with the Gregorian calendar — a concept that persists today.  Modern New Year’s resolutions became *a thing* in the 19th century. The first recorded use of the phrase “new year resolution” appeared in a Boston newspaper in 1813.

Despite New Year’s resolution having religious roots, the practice has become widespread even with non-religious people.  New Year resolutions have now become promises made to self rather than the previous practice of promises to the gods. This, according to may be one of the reasons why resolutions fail. I will talk more about why resolutions don’t work in this weeks video. Please click here and subscribe so you don’t miss it. Merry Christmas.


  1. Rolland

    Good read. Thanks for sharing. I like the part that says resolutions are not kept because they’re promises to self and not to gods. If you’re accountable to yourself, rather than some superior being, then you can break the promise at any time knowing that you can’t punish yourself for not breaking the promise.

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