The history and flaws of New Year’s resolutions

The history and flaws of New Year’s resolutions

Photo Credits: JEREMY DANG / AGGIE

How Aggies are keeping their resolutions from failing

New Year’s resolutions have become a tradition that many people look forward to, and much of their appeal stems from the new commitment to make a change in one’s life. Making resolutions may be part of the way people celebrate the New Year today, but this tradition actually has a history that started 4,000 years ago with the Babylonians.

For the Babylonians, the New Year began in mid-March and took place during the Akitu, a 12-day religious festival in which they decided to either name a new king or assure their king of their unwavering loyalty. During the New Year, the Babylonians would promise their gods that they would pay off their debts. If they did as promised, then the gods would reward them with another year.

Similar to the Babylonians, the Romans offered a sacrifice to their gods and would promise to be good-natured in the upcoming year. Emperor Julius Caesar changed the calendar and decided that January 1 would be the New Year for 46 B.C.

These traditions often meant self-preservation from the gods, but it also represented working toward being a better person. The New Year’s resolutions for the gods meant that people had to better themselves. While some may not relate their resolutions with a higher power as much now, they still craft resolutions to improve their lives.

Every year resolutions are made with hopeful intentions, but every year there are many people who can’t keep up with the demands of sticking to their resolutions. One common victim of this struggle is the getting-in-shape resolution. In January, there is a 12 percent increase in new gym memberships compared to the average 8.3 percent year round, according to USNEWS.

Lolita Ghadimian, a first-year pharmaceutical chemistry major, found a way to beat the statistics and continue going to the gym in order to accomplish her goals.

“One way I stick to [my resolution is that] I find out my friends’ schedules, and we figure out a time everyday to go,” Ghadimian said.

For some students, having to go to the gym an hour everyday when they are struggling to find time to go to classes, cook for themselves, go to work, study and sleep well can be difficult. With the added resolution of eating healthy, one must also go out of their way to find healthy recipes and learn how to cook them. Given all this, it can seem so much easier to just whip up some mac and cheese.

“I go to the [Dining Commons], and when I see the sweets bar, I just walk away,” Ghadimian said.

Emily Holt, a second-year civil engineering major, admitted that she doesn’t make any resolutions.

“I know I’m not going to stick to them, so I don’t even bother,” Holt said.

However, unlike Holt, there are still quite a few people that make resolutions, and a lot of them are long term goals. Long term goals are common, and it’s good to set them as life goals. Goals like being healthier, losing weight or exercising more often are all long term goals. Yet the effects of goals like these cannot happen overnight, nor can they happen without constant persistence. This makes long term goals the most difficult to keep, despite their benefits.

January is a time to reflect on how to improve oneself for a better year and a better life in general. New Year’s resolutions are little bits of hope that we keep within ourselves, hope that allows us to strive for a greater future.

Max Zielsdorf, a fourth-year materials science and engineering major, stated that his goal was to be more optimistic.

“It’s just generally one thought at a time,” Zielsdorf said. “You look into it and you see how can I make that a more positive thought? You can’t do that for every thought you just have to recognize when your thoughts are tending to go toward negative so you correct where you can.”

Keeping up with New Year’s resolutions is hard, and people may slip up from time to time, but it’s just a matter of commitment. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to recognize the progress being made and try not to focus on the fact that the goal has yet to be achieved. If it doesn’t go as planned, there’s always next year.

Written by: Itzelth Gamboa — arts@theaggie.org