Tracing the Origins of New Year’s Resolutions: From Ancient Civilizations to Modern Times

The concept of New Year’s resolutions as we know them today can be traced back to the ancient Romans. They had traditions of making promises to the god Janus. Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions, was depicted with two faces, one looking back at the past and the other looking forward to the future. The Romans believed Janus could provide guidance and protection as they entered a new year.

In medieval Europe, the start of the new year was moved to January 1 to coincide with the Feast of the Circumcision, which commemorated the circumcision of Jesus. Around this time, the concept of New Year’s resolutions began to spread beyond the confines of ancient Rome. In the 16th century, the custom of making New Year’s resolutions became popular among the English and the French, eventually spreading to the rest of Europe and the United States.

Today, New Year’s resolutions are standard worldwide, with people making promises to themselves to improve their lives somehow. These resolutions can range from personal goals, such as quitting smoking or losing weight, to professional purposes, such as advancing their careers or starting a new business.

Despite their popularity, New Year’s resolutions can be challenging, with many needing help to maintain their resolve throughout the year. However, the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions remains popular, as it provides an opportunity for people to reflect on their accomplishments and set future goals.