A resolution is defined as:
1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. A resolving to do something.
3. A course of action determined or decided on.
4. A formal statement of a decision or expression of opinion put before or adopted by an assembly such as the U.S. Congress.
The tradition of making a New Year’s resolution dates back to the Babylonians. While popular common resolutions include losing weight, getting in shape, stopping smoking or perhaps spending more time with family whereas the early Babylonian’s idea of a popular resolution was to return their borrowed farm equipment. So if you’re wondering why do we make resolutions and who came up with the idea? Just blame it on Babylon.
In Rome, as early as 153 B.C. the God Janus oversaw the passing of one year to the next. While most agricultural communities counted their years on a seasonal cycle, making the start of the year somewhere around spring, the Roman calendar arbitrarily assigned the first day of the year to January 1. January is a derivative of the name Janus. 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 to him for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.
It’s important to recognize that this tradition of looking back at the previous year before looking forward to the upcoming year is a tradition that is more than 2,000 years old. So as you consider the year behind you and look forward to the year ahead of you, what resolutions might you make? Before you leap onto the typical resolution bandwagon and declare this is the year you will shed those extra pounds or hit the gym more or finally smoke that last cigarette, take the month of January to be considerate of the year you came out of.
Think about the highs, think about the lows and think about the resolutions you made last year. Did you manage to keep any of them? I know there are people who make resolutions every year and stick them out. I know still more who can’t even name the resolution they made the year before. The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is they are ‘expected’ and so many people just make them because they are ‘supposed’ to.
When you look at the statistics and realize that the number of fitness memberships seem to quadruple in January and that many of those lose their momentum and falter out before the middle of March. Why? Easy – the resolution means something because you do want to do what you resolve to do. But unless you make a plan to go with the resolution, it’s like saying ‘we’re going to conquer the hill’ and attacking it, but none of the troops have any idea who is giving the orders.
So if you want to make a resolution, go ahead. But the resolution alone is not going to help you get to where you want to be. If you’re resolution is to lose weight or get in better shape, then you should also resolve to find the right fitness plan for you. You should make a plan, commit to a schedule and examine the impact that your efforts will have.
Make a list of pros and cons, identify your strengths and your weaknesses and when you have all the information, examine your resolution. Is your resolution still to lose weight? Or is your resolution now to spend more time on yourself, to respect yourself enough to make the time you will need to live a healthier lifestyle where one of the benefits is losing weight.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Where there is a way, there is a plan. Where there is a plan, there is a greater chance for success than when there is none. So as you look back on the year behind us and you consider the year ahead, take a long hard look at those resolutions you want to make. Examine them, draw up a plan and when you’re ready, commit to it. You don’t have to decide on that resolution on January 1 – if it takes you until January 21st, your resolution is still valid.