Why Do People Make New Years Resolutions?

Why We Make New Years Resolutions

It’s that time of year again: the time to make New Year’s resolutions.

What could be better than starting the year with hope and with promises to be more successful, more productive, or more loving? The debate has already begun. New Year’s Day is the most popular time of the year for people to hit the proverbial “reset button.” But what is it about the New Year that brings hope for such change and why do people make resolutions?

The History of New Years Resolutions

When did ringing in the New Year become such a big deal? Turns out, it isn’t just a construct of modern Americans. Around 4,000 years ago in Babylon, Babylonians rang in their new year with an 11-day festival in March, and ancient Egyptians celebrated the advent of their new calendar during the Nile River’s annual flood. By 46 B.C., Roman emperor Julius Caesar had moved the first day of the year to Jan. 1 in honor 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.

The origin of making New Year’s resolutions rests with the Babylonians, who reportedly made promises to the gods in hopes they’d earn good favor in the coming year. They often resolved to get out of debt.

Just as in past years, some of us will honor the tradition of making resolutions, while as many others will mock it—and us.

Why are New Years Resolutions Hard to Keep?

One of the most common reasons we break our New Year’s resolutions is that we get a little overzealous when we make them and we over-commit. It’s easier to keep just one resolution rather than several. Another part of the problem is that we often make the wrong resolution (or more than one wrong resolution). The key to successful goal-making is not to be hasty when you do it. If you’re not 100 percent committed to your goal, the odds of staying motivated are not in your favor.

What are the most popular resolutions?

We’re sure you can all guess at least three things that will be on this list as you’ve probably made them your resolution at some point in your life.

  • Lose weight
  • Exercise more
  • Eat healthier
  • Get organised
  • Save more money
  • Quit smoking
  • Enjoy life
  • Spend more quality time with close friends and family members
  • Get-and stay-healthy
  • Learn something new
  • Help others pursue their goals
  • Find love

Discover more on the most common New Years resolutions and how to stick to them.